Protect U.S. Investments in Global Health Security

Outbreaks of life-threatening diseases are more serious than ever. A country’s preparedness can mean the difference between an isolated outbreak and global catastrophe.

Resources, training, and infrastructure are essential protections for all countries to stop outbreaks at the source.

In response to the devastating Ebola crisis of 2014, the United States Congress authorized over $900 million in supplemental funding to support the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) for five years to help countries prepare for and address biological threats. This critical funding runs out at the end of fiscal year 2019, placing up to 80% of our global health security efforts abroad--offices, personnel, and programs--at risk. Also at risk?  U.S. health security and extended biodefenses.   

Without sufficient funding of $208.2 million a year for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and $172.5 million a year at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), we weaken the global network of protection, increase risk to American lives, and threaten investments from other governments and the private sector.

What is at risk without renewed funding?
Through these global health security programs, the United States has helped other countries to make measurable improvements in capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to emerging infectious disease events. Last year, when Congo experienced a potentially deadly Ebola outbreak in a remote, forested area, CDC-trained disease detectives and rapid responders helped contain it quickly. Now, these global efforts are at risk. Without vital renewed funding, the CDC plans to narrow its focus to 10 “priority countries,” downsizing its epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries starting in October 2019—effectively reducing its effort by 80%. The next global infectious disease outbreak could harm the U.S. export economy and threaten U.S. jobs - even if the disease never reaches our shores. A reduction in U.S. investments risks our ability to leverage private sector resources and other country donors that are just stepping up and building on the scaffolding that the U.S. created.

How has the U.S. supported global health security to date?
The U.S. has funded global health security programs and activities that have been primarily carried out by the CDC, USAID, U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Base funding for these activities has remained relatively flat from FY 2006 ($390 million) through FY 2017 ($402 million), with episodic funding spikes through supplemental funding mechanisms reflecting specific outbreak events, including Ebola in FY 2015. Much of this funding is set to end in FY 2019, leaving uncertain the future of U.S. capability to stop outbreaks at the source and before they spread.
The President’s FY2019 budget request for $59 million to support the U.S.-led global health security programs is not enough.  

What is the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA)?
The GHSA is a partnership of more than 60 countries committed to accelerating global health security capabilities using clear, measurable targets. Through the GHSA, the U.S. Government works closely with partners around the world to reach specific targets, indicators by which to measure progress, and monitoring and evaluation activities to support successful implementation. Here’s how U.S. leadership has helped advance the goals of the GHSA so far.

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March 5, 2018
About

Without sufficient funding of $208 million a year for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and $172 million a year at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), we weaken the global network of protection, increase risk to American lives, and threaten investments from other governments and the private sector.

Authors
Elizabeth Cameron, PhD
Elizabeth Cameron, PhD

Vice President, Global Biological Policy and Programs