In 2016 the Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP) contributed immensely towards making Americans and the world at large safer. From Ebola to cholera to Zika and beyond, our division played a critical role in supporting the agency’s mission of protecting the health of Americans and saving lives. We responded to urgent public health threats and stopped new pandemics at the source.
Our Global Disease Detection Operations Center (GDDOC) continued working 24/7 monitoring potential outbreaks across the globe. In 2016 alone, the GDDOCs tracked over 35 outbreaks in more than 130 countries. Our Field Epidemiology Training Program trainees investigated more than 400 potential outbreaks around the world. And in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, our Emergency Response and Recovery Branch activated an Incident Management Systemexternal icon for the first time and deployed nearly 20 staff to Haiti to provide essential surveillance, lab, water, sanitation and hygiene, epidemiology and policy support to the response. We also worked with our partners to complete Joint External Evaluations (JEE) in 28 countries. We know that no one nation can ensure global health security alone. Completing a JEE helps countries identify abilities and limitations within their health system and to prioritize opportunities for capacity development in disease prevention, detection, and response. Twenty more evaluations are scheduled for early 2017, putting us on target to complete JEEs in at least 50 countries by the World Health Assembly in May 2017.
History and experience have taught us that health security is an integral part of national security in the United States. As the world becomes more interconnected, an effective way to protect Americans from diseases threats that begin abroad is to stop them at their source before they spread to our borders. In 2017 and beyond, it is critical that we remain vigilant: and continue to look at health security from a global perspective knowing that weak systems in one country impact the health and well-being of communities in many others. Global health protection requires focus beyond one country, one issue, or one pathogen as well as strong collaboration with internal and external partners across the globe.
At DGHP we remain committed to working with our partners, including strong collaboration and coordination with subject matter experts across CDC as well as US government and global partners, in protecting America from potential health threats and improving global health security. The division’s 2016 – 2020 Strategic Plan will keep us focused on prioritizing global health across three interrelated goals that unify our work across the division:
- Develop and maintain preparedness, rapid detection, response, and recovery systems for global public health emergencies
- Build country capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats using scientific research and evidence-based approaches
- Sustain and strengthen strategic partnerships for global health security
The world relies on the work of CDC, and our division in particular by virtue of its cross-cutting work, to provide critical leadership and on the ground support to protect the health of Americans here at home and ensure the long-term sustainability of health gains abroad.
We are confident that with sustained investments in strong health systems, we can build country capabilities, improve global health security and accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from public health threats. Together, we can continue to protect the health of Americans and make the world safer and more secure.
Kashef Ijaz, MD, MPH
Former Director (Acting), Division of Global Health Protection
Center for Global Health