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Global Health Security Agenda

Global health security has never been more critical to the well-being of the United States and its citizens than it is right now. Infectious diseases spread more quickly than they ever have before, as evidenced by the Ebola, Zika, and bird flu outbreaks. New bacteria and viruses are emerging, and others are growing resistant to existing antibiotics.

The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) is a worldwide effort to address this evolving reality. Through a growing multisectoral partnership of international organizations, non-governmental stakeholders, and more than 50 countries, GHSA is accelerating efforts to build countries’ capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases and achieve the core capacities required by the International Health Regulations (IHR).

“We issued a challenge to ourselves and to all nations of the world to make concrete pledges towards three key goals:  prevent, detect and respond.  We have to prevent outbreaks by reducing risks.  We need to detect threats immediately wherever they arise.  And we need to respond rapidly and effectively when we see something happening so that we can save lives and avert even larger outbreaks. —President Obama, 2014 Global Health Security Agenda Summit 

These words encapsulate the aim of the GHSA, a multinational and multi-sectoral initiative to which DoD is proud to be committed. Preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats requires holistic solutions through strengthened relationships with health services, other government and industry partners, and academia. Cooperation is a force multiplier; cross-cutting collaboration is required at the national as well as the international level as well. Though DoD is in a supporting position, there is a clear and important role to be played by military medicine: the GHSA offers DoD and other militaries a framework to engage and better coordinate with interagency (other ministries) and international partners. 

In addition to collaboration and support, many of DoD’s existing efforts and priorities complement the GHSA. DoD has long focused on bio-threats, even prior to the establishment of the GHSA. Activities within the realms of force health protection, countering weapons of mass destruction, threat reduction, building partner capacity, and supporting science & technology programs work to further goals that align with GHSA objectives. 

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