As the world continues its fight against COVID-19, other ongoing outbreaks are stark reminders of the continued and constant threat posed by infectious diseases. The global mpox outbreak and an Ebola outbreak in Uganda are just two of the most recent examples of how the risks and impact of emerging infectious diseases are increasing daily, and how global systems remain ill-equipped to identify and contain these threats. Every outbreak carries the risk of spreading regionally or globally, impacting health, economies, and societies.
That is why USAID has focused significant efforts to advance global health security, and is pleased to share progress on two key commitments. First, with generous support from Congress, USAID is doubling the number of partner countries it supports in preventing, detecting, and responding to emerging infectious disease threats. USAID is taking the unprecedented step of expanding its work to 50 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and Eurasia. This expansion is part of the whole-of-government commitment to meet Goal 2 of the National Biodefense Strategy to improve areas that are critical to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats at their source.
Second, USAID has now established a dedicated Outbreak Response Team that is expanding USAID’s capabilities to respond to multiple infectious disease outbreaks simultaneously, as well as improving outbreak response coordination with country governments, multilateral partners, and other U.S. government agencies. The Outbreak Response Team has already been activated in the U.S. responses to the ongoing global mpox outbreak, Ebola outbreaks in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Marburg outbreaks in Guinea and Ghana.
The U.S. government invests more than $1 billion annually around the world to develop the global, regional, and country-level capabilities needed to meet future pandemic threats. Last month, President Biden highlighted this when he released a bold new vision and strategy for health security and pandemic preparedness in the United States and around the world through the National Biodefense Strategy and Implementation Plan for Countering Biological Threats, Enhancing Pandemic Preparedness, and Achieving Global Health Security.
The progress USAID is sharing today is vital to achieving this coordinated U.S. goal. Working closely with partners across the U.S. government and around the world, USAID is developing and coordinating a strategic framework to strengthen national health security plans, prioritize critical gaps, and build and measure strengthened country capacities.
This week, during the 7th Global Health Security Ministerial Meeting in Seoul, the U.S. government is releasing a detailed new annual report to demonstrate the impact and progress of our work to protect the world from pandemic threats – “Strengthening Health Security Across the Globe: Progress and Impact of U.S. Government Investments in the Global Health Security Agenda.” The new report highlights many achievements – which were vital to partner countries’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic – but also outlines the major gaps and path ahead to achieving a world that is safe and secure from biological threats. USAID is proud to play a major role, alongside colleagues from other U.S. departments and agencies, to contribute to the U.S. government’s global health security efforts, including efforts to spur new multilateral action. This includes the establishment of the groundbreaking new Pandemic Fund at the World Bank(link is external), as well as ongoing support of the multilateral Global Health Security Agenda 2024 initiative.
USAID remains committed to delivering results that will keep Americans and the world safe and secure from health outbreaks and pandemic threats.