Executive order signed by President Obama
Bioterrorism. Infectious diseases. Pandemics. The next biological threat could begin in any location, for any reason, and result from any source. What’s worse, a dangerous disease from a rural location with a low populous can now be transported rapidly to more urban locations, including highly populated cities–in as little as 36 hours–due to globalization.
National preparedness is the key to preventing, detecting, and responding to these threats, but without assistance, some nations are simply unable to establish the appropriate measures needed.
Disease surveillance, the ability to get accurate and expeditious laboratory results, and information sharing systems or networks are critical factors for rapid detection and containment of a biological threat. The absence of these measures in countries with weak national health systems leaves the world vulnerable to the next outbreak.
Since many nations do not have the capacity to deal with these dangerous pathogens, the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) was designed to promote global health security by assisting nations to increase their capabilities.
Specific goals of the GHSA are to help all nations achieve measures that help them prevent, detect, and respond to natural, accidental, or human-caused biological threats.
Efforts of the program seek to increase capacity through:
- Improved laboratories
- Strengthened disease surveillance
- Improved biosecurity and biosafety
- Improved emergency management
- Workforce development expansion
More than 50 countries involved
The program now includes 55 countries, along with NGOs, stakeholders from the private sector, international organizations, and a leaders’ initiative for next generation leaders.
The development of the Joint External Evaluation (JEE) is a program developed by the GHSA and meant to help a nation identify its greatest weaknesses within its public health systems. Once identified, the program seeks to help the country develop a national plan to address the gaps and implement stronger systems according to the measures outlined above.
In an effort to help protect the United States from any biological threats, an executive order was signed by President Obama on Friday, November 4, 2016 that helps support the advancement of the GHSA in accordance with Presidential Policy Directive 2 (PPD-2). PPD-2, in accordance with Objective One from the National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats, states that the countering of biological threats to the nation occurs through the support and promotion of global health security.