SEATTLE, Washington — On March 4, 2020, the Global Health Security Act made new progress when it passed the House of Foreign Affairs Committee. The Act aims to ensure a coordinated international response to global health emergencies. Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH), the original sponsors of the bill, are hopeful that its passing signals new support for the Act that failed to confer substantial progress the first time it was introduced in December 2018.
In the midst of the Coronavirus – a global pandemic accounting for more than 200,00 cases in 173 countries – the United States Federal Government is facing mounting pressure to develop a bipartisan solution to effectively prevent any future global pandemics. “Pandemics like coronavirus don’t stop at borders, so it’s critical that our government effectively coordinates the response to outbreaks here and abroad…we can see clearly right now just how important it is to invest in smart, effective, global health policy,” stated Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Fortunately, the Global Health Security Act is the bipartisan solution the U.S. is looking for.
There are two central components to the Global Health Security Act. One includes the creation of a Global Health Security Agenda Interagency Review Council. The second is an annual report detailing the state of Global Health Security. Moreover, the act would establish a Special Advisor to the president. The advisor would be responsible for coordinating global responses and providing congressional briefings regarding the state of global health security.
Why the Act Is Important
The frequency of global health threats has increased in recent decades and poses significant risks to the world population. The Ebola virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the Zika virus and now COVID-19 (Coronavirus) have caused significant damage to the global economy and accounted for thousands of casualties worldwide. According to CNN, growing urbanization, increased travel and limited numbers of physicians in impacted areas are among several factors that increase the risk and severity of global pandemics.
“This legislation recognizes the critical leadership role the United States plays in global health security efforts and ensures that we are better prepared for an outbreak that could reach the U.S.,” said Loyce Pace, President and Executive Director of Global Health Council.
The Global Health Security Act will face a vote in the House of Representatives. If it passes, it will be introduced to the U.S. Senate. With enough support, people can ensure the U.S. leads the world in preventing any future threats to global health security. The time for action is now, and the solution is clear. People can ask their representatives to support the Global Health Security Act. Click here for a link to email congressional leaders or call their offices to urge their support.
– Aly Hill