- Council Special Report
- Concise policy briefs that provide timely responses to developing crises or contributions to current policy dilemmas.
“The challenges to global health are numerous and multiple factors make the emergence and spread of another virulent pathogen not only possible but also probable,” warns a new Council Special Report by Yanzhong Huang and Rebecca Katz.
“[T]he window of opportunity for enhancing pandemic preparedness is rapidly diminishing,” caution Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Katz, director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University.
The new report, Negotiating Global Health Security: Priorities for U.S. and Global Governance of Disease, says: “In the face of unprecedented global challenges, three crucial tasks emerge as paramount: promoting public health capabilities, bridging the gaps in global health governance, and effectively mitigating the harmful effects of geopolitical tensions.”
While the authors acknowledge well-known global health threats, there are also other contributing factors. They note that climate change increases “the likelihood of contact between disease-carrying animals and humans” and underscore that vulnerabilities in the global supply chain threaten “the production, distribution, and delivery of the medical supplies and commodities essential to global health security.”
“Global health security and pandemic preparedness and response are at a critical juncture,” the authors write. “The goal is not to find the perfect governance structure, but rather to establish robust implementation frameworks and secure the necessary financing to ensure effective functionality when faced with the next pandemic.”
The authors suggest that countries take three critical steps:
- “promote public health capabilities” by “building foundational country-level capacity, investing in medical countermeasures, and supporting regional centers for public health.”
- “close the gaps in global health governance,” which includes “countering misinformation and disinformation, and responding to deliberate biological events and complex health emergencies.”
- “mitigate the harmful effects of geopolitical rivalries” to mobilize “[g]lobal collective action against health threats.”
“As countries emerge from the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple opportunities exist to address the challenges laid bare during the past three years and to build stronger, more equitable, and sustainable systems,” Huang and Katz highlight.
“It is imperative to take swift actions to address the significant capacity and governance gaps in global health security before another major epidemic or pandemic arises,” they conclude.
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