The Road Ahead for CDC And GHSA

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None of the 195 member nations party to the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) are fully prepared for the next pandemic. This is the finding of the 2019 Global Health Security Indexexternal icon, a project by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in collaboration with The Economist Intelligence Unit. These findings highlight the urgent need for the world to continue to come together as a global community to strengthen capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to global health threats. CDC remains committed to advancing global health security, including through the next phase of GHSA – “GHSA 2024pdf iconexternal icon” – and through the U.S. Global Health Security Strategy.

CDC continues to make critical investments in global health security capacity. These investments help save lives and money and move us toward the goal of self-sufficiency for countries around the world in the prevention, detection, and rapid and effective response to emerging infectious disease threats. To achieve this goal, CDC will build on its foundation of technical expertise to assist countries to expand and improve their own disease surveillance systems, laboratory systems, workforce development, and emergency management and response capacities. Global health security is critical, but requires long, hard work and many partnerships and collaborations in the face of growing and emerging threats. The gains we have made thus far are real and tangible, and so are the threats, whether an Ebola Virus Disease outbreak or a resurgence of measles cases or the spread of a novel coronavirus. Our global health security accomplishments are fragile and require sustained effort and coordination as well as continued investments from multiple partners to maintain and improve.

GHSA 2024

In 2018, all member countries committed to the next phase of the GHSA strategic framework. The GHSA 2024 key strategic objectives are to

  • Develop sustainable financing mechanisms for global health security
  • Promote multi-sector collaboration to improve GHS capacities
  • Improve information sharing across member countries
  • Strengthen accountability to member country commitments

GHSA 2024’s target is for countries to take greater ownership of global health security efforts, and for more than 100 countries to improve health-security-related technical areas within five years. CDC remains a major contributor to and leader of the U.S. Government’s commitment to this next phase of GHSA.  GHSA 2024 positions member countries to develop the leadership, technical knowledge, and collaborative foundation to sustain health security in the long term.

A World Without Global Health Security

From avian flu, to Zika, to antimicrobial resistant diseases, the world faces a host of dangerous pathogens and potential epidemics. New diseases, like MERS-CoV, influenza H7N9, and Coronavirus Disease 2019 can emerge without warning and quickly spread. In our globally connected world, their effects have unprecedented reach. During the Flu Pandemic of 1918, an estimated 500 million people – or one-third of the world’s population – became infected with the virus. Approximately 675,000 people in the United States died from the 1918 H1N1 virus. If a deadly flu virus like the strain from 1918 were to re-emerge and spread in the world today, epidemiologists from the Institute for Disease Modeling estimate that as many as 33 million people could die from the virus in as little as six months[1].

In addition to tragic loss of life, the next global infectious disease outbreak could harm the United States’ export economy and threaten U.S. jobs — even if the disease never reaches American shores. In 2015, for example, the United States exported more than $308 billion worth of goods to CDC global health security partner countries. These exports supported more than 1.6 million American jobs in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, services, and other sectors[2].

A world without continued focus on global health security is a world more vulnerable to the dangerous and harmful impacts of outbreaks and epidemics.

[1] Pandemic Simulation Used in Gates Shattuck Lecture. (2018, May 18). Retrieved January 9, 2020, from

[2] Cassell, C. H., Bambery, Z., Roy, K., Meltzer, M. I., Ahmed, Z., Payne, R. L., & Bunnell, R. E. (2017). Relevance of Global Health Security to the U.S. Export Economy. Health Security, 15(6), 563–568.

Page last reviewed: February 14, 2020
Content source: Global Health