In December 2021, WHO released a report, “The State of Health Equity: HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. external icon” In that report, the authors note that, “… although remarkable progress has been made in reducing the overall burden of each disease, particularly in the past decade, certain groups still have persistently higher disease mortality and morbidity, and lower access to life-saving interventions.” The report reminds us that while progress is possible, much work remains. Among that work, global health programs must do more to assess and address the impact of the world’s leading health challenges among those with fewer resources.
True global health security requires strong public health systems, partnership, and collaboration. Tackling the challenges of the world’s leading causes of death and disease, responding to the on-going COVID-19 crisis, and working with countries to be better prepared for and respond to the next infectious disease threat are inseparable from health equity. Long-term, comprehensive strengthening of public health systems is the foundation of equity in global health and is the foundation for health security.
CDC’s close work with countries focuses on developing integrated, functional, and flexible public health systems that are country-owned and that that can be sustained over time. These include public health systems needed to identify and track infectious diseases as well as response capabilities and a skilled workforce that can mobilize an effective response—all critical assets in the current global fight against COVID-19. In the coming year, CDC will continue to partner with countries to address COVID-19 and long-standing global health challenges, and CDC’s Center for Global Health will:
- Strengthen CGH’s capacity to advance health equity in science, programs, policy, and communications by building evidence-based programs to advance global health equity and by implementing strategies to measure progress in closing global health equity gaps.
- Strengthen global preparedness by supporting the further development of National Public Health Institutes. Creating National Public Health Institutes overseas brings together professionals, disease monitoring, and laboratories so that countries are better prepared to detect and diagnose diseases with a ready, trained workforce.
- Continue to fortify linkages between CDC and partners working overseas through on-going collaborations on COVID-19, efforts to address long-standing global health challenges, and opportunities to implement new global health tools, such as the roll out of the recently approved malaria vaccine.
- Provide leadership for CDC’s global COVID-19 response efforts by building on relationships with country partners to implement key strategies including vaccine roll out, distribution, and surveillance.
- Build preparedness and response capacity and collaboration from global and domestic efforts across the agency to prepare for the next global health emergency.
- Intensify, innovate, sustain, and adapt proven interventions to advance the science base to develop public health tools to further the fight against HIV, TB, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, and vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles and polio as well as COVID-19.
- Support efforts to extend CDC’s global reach to ensure coverage in vulnerable regions of the world, including expansion of regional platforms and integration of global health program activities such as FETP, to increase efficacy of disease control prevention efforts.