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There is a clear economic case for accelerating investment and progress toward improved global health security – the cost of preparedness and prevention is a fraction of the cost of response and recovery. The question is how to get the sizing, organization, and incentives of financing preparedness right at national and global levels, ensuring resources are in place to mount an effective, coordinated response when health emergencies occur.
Sustained and substantial funds are vital for global health security, but the landscape of financing for preparedness, prevention and response is fragmented and poorly governed. Multiple international programs, initiatives, and institutions have evolved in the aftermath of past pandemics, but many were small and inadequately funded; the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the ways in which global preparedness and response are under-resourced and under-prioritized. What financing commitments, structures, and mechanisms will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure fit-for-purpose financing for global health security going forward?
CGD experts have been examining and working to improve financing for preparedness, prevention, and response since long before the COVID-19 pandemic, including work on financing for the response to Ebola and antimicrobial resistance, and the global health team continues to provide research, commentary, and analysis for actionable solutions and transformative ways forward.
Zika’s rapid spread has focused media attention on how poorly prepared both rich and less rich countries are for infectious disease outbreaks. And while it seems that we are still flailing, in fact, the international community has been trying to do better for a while. Perhaps the most significant response came in 2014 when the G7 (including the US Government) endorsed the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), a partnership of governments and international organizations aiming to accelerate achievement of the core outbreak preparedness and response capacities required by the International Health Regulations.
The Obama Administration has requested $6.18 billion in emergency funding to fight and contain Ebola. The ask is now in the hands of Congress, but given that Ebola incidence seems to be on the decline in many (not all) districts in West Africa, some leaders are losing steam on the response.
Six months have passed since the WHO declared the current outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. This declaration set in motion an international response to curb the spread of the disease. While far from over, there are signs that the epidemic is starting to come under control and that the outbreak is moving into a new phase.
Since the first case of Ebola appeared last year, the virus has infected nearly 10,000 people. The epidemic is concentrated in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea — post-conflict countries with incredibly weak health systems.