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Global Health Security Branch

What is Global Health Security?
Global health security is a term used to describe the capacities required for countries to prepare for and respond to public health threats and reduce the risk of these threats from crossing borders. The global threat of diseases such as avian influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) spreading from person to person and across borders poses a public health risk to all countries. The risk is especially high for low-and middle-resource countries with less-developed systems to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to emerging and re-emerging public health threats.

Areas of concern:
In todays interconnected world we remain vulnerable to many health threats, despite advances in technology and knowledge. Although all 194 WHO member states agreed to comply with the revised International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR), less than 20% of Member States have achieved compliance with the core capacities required by the deadline of June 2012. As a result, dangerous gaps in capacities for data collection and analysis, surveillance, and disease detection and response still exist and are crucial to protection against the spread of infectious diseases. With increased global travel and trade, a disease threat that occurs anywhere can very quickly spread across borders and become a global health threat. This “perfect storm” of global health vulnerability is defined by:

  • The emergence and spread of new diseases such as MERS-CoV and influenza H7N9;
  • Globalization of travel and trade;
  • Rise of diseases that are drug resistant; and
  • Potential for accidental or deliberate release of dangerous pathogens.

GHSB’s Mission: Protecting Populations in the U.S. and abroad
CDC’s Global Health Security Branch (GHSB) protects the health of Americans and global populations by assisting partner countries to prepare for and respond to potential public health emergencies. The Branch accomplishes this mission through the implementation and coordination of early detection, rapid response, preparedness, and capacity building measures in the context of the IHR (2005) and the CDC’s Global Health Strategy.

GHSB’s Role: Advancing Global Health Security, Strengthening Partnerships and Leverage Resources
GHSB is committed to advancing global health security and working with other partners to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. GHSB leads CDC’s global health security engagement with other U.S. government agencies and programs, multilateral institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, ministries of health, and other international organizations and promotes mutual strategies, research, and policies. GHSB includes key programs that partner with host countries to build surveillance and response capacity for potential public health events of national and international concern. The branch provides global health security leadership and coordination in over 50 countries, with the end goal of improving a country’s capacity to:

  • Prevent epidemics before they become widespread,
  • Detect emerging infectious disease threats early with efficient laboratory systems, and a well-trained workforce of disease experts, that have the capacity to –
  • Respond to infectious disease outbreaks effectively using well-equipped emergency operations centers, information systems, and rapid response teams

GHSB helps ensure global health security by working collaboratively with ministries of health and other partners and leveraging a variety of U.S. government resources to achieve its public health objectives and assist other countries to successfully implement the IHR core requirements. The branch also works with U.S. government agencies focused on defense and diplomacy and works with domestic and international programs across CDC to identify CDC subject matter experts who can support partner countries by:

  • Supporting capacity building for disease surveillance and outbreak response;
  • Strengthening preparedness and emergency management capabilities;
  • Developing information technology tools for disease surveillance and response reporting;
  • Supporting the intersection of public health and national security interests;
  • Developing and monitoring disease surveillance systems;
  • Establishing routine surveillance for priority diseases; and
  • Promoting the development of safe laboratory systems and diagnostics.

GHSB includes key programs that partner with host countries to build capacities in surveillance, disease detection and outbreak response including:

  • Page last reviewed: February 13, 2014
  • Page last updated: February 13, 2014
  • Content source: Global Health
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