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Our publications keep professionals working across the public, private, and academic sectors informed on the most important developments and issues in health security and biosecurity.

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The Road to Achieving Global Health Security: Accelerating Progress and Spurring Urgency to Fill Remaining Gaps

Diane Meyer, Elizabeth E. Cameron, Jessica Bell, Jennifer B. Nuzzo
Date posted:
January 31, 2020
Publication type:
Health Secur. 2020 Jan;18(S1):S1-S3
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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Five years ago, the world was on a precipice. An outbreak of Ebola that had started in Guinea spilled into neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone. None of the affected countries had recorded an outbreak of Ebola before, and the response was challenged by lack of public health capacities, community distrust of healthcare workers, poor communication, and difficulties reaching affected populations. International health officials expressed concerns about the potential for further spread of the virus throughout the continent, and, ultimately, more than 11,000 people lost their lives.

The United States stepped up as a leader in the global response to the West African Ebola epidemic, which, over a 2-year period, would cost billions of dollars and would lead to the development of a complex web of global partnerships across governments, international organizations, foundations, and private industry. Just before the first Ebola cases in Guinea came to light in 2014, the United States brought together in Washington, DC, partner countries from around the world to launch the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). Ironically, the intent of the GHSA was to prevent the very type of uncontrolled epidemic that was spreading silently in West Africa by improving countries' capacities to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to outbreaks occurring within their borders. During the Ebola epidemic, the United States committed $1 billion to advance the goals of the GHSA. This likely represented the world's largest single investment by a country toward improved implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005) and helped catalyze additional contributions from other countries.



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