Washington, DC (May 23, 2018) — The Global Health Security Roundtable welcomes U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s announcement that the U.S. is contributing an additional $7 million in response to the evolving Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bringing the total U.S. commitment to $8 million. From May 8 – 21, the outbreak has led to 58 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases, including 27 deaths, and the number of cases is expected to increase.
This recent outbreak illustrates the continuing threat of infectious diseases to the United States and the world, and the outstanding need to more effectively finance prevention, detection, and response. While the Roundtable is encouraged to see today’s announcement of additional support, it is critical to note that this commitment comes just two weeks after a proposed $252 million rescission of Ebola supplemental funding, which Congress allocated in 2015 to assist with comparable future outbreaks.
History has shown us that as successful public health interventions stem an outbreak or lead to an overall decline in infectious disease rates, public funding for those very programs is subsequently cut in favor of other priorities, leaving us vulnerable to the next infectious disease threat. The Global Health Security Roundtable calls on the Administration and Congress to prioritize future and preventive investments in preparedness, and notes that it should not come at the expense of other lifesaving global health and development programs, which often serve as the backbone of health security programming. Additionally, the Roundtable reiterates the need for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other U.S. agencies to have access to the same types of financing as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Emergency Response Fund, in support of a comprehensive U.S. response to outbreaks such as that in the DRC.
The ongoing threat that epidemics and pandemics pose to U.S. health, economic, and national security interests demands dedicated and sustained funding for global health security, with a concerted focus on enabling low- and middle-income countries to strengthen their capabilities in proven public health interventions. Although it may be impossible to completely prevent the emergence and spread of infectious threats, the United States and the world can be much better prepared, coming together behind a comprehensive U.S. strategy for outbreaks, robust investments, and continued vigilance both at home and abroad.
About the Global Health Security Roundtable
Managed by Global Health Council and chaired by Beth Cameron (Nuclear Threat Initiative), Carolyn Reynolds (PATH), and Annie Toro (U.S. Pharmacopeia)—the Global Health Security Roundtable is a diverse coalition of over 40 organizations that seek to provide effective tools for U.S. Congress and the current administration on the importance of investments in global health security.
About Global Health Council
Established in 1972, Global Health Council (GHC) is the leading membership organization supporting and connecting advocates, implementers, and stakeholders around global health priorities worldwide. GHC represents the collaborative voice of the community on key issues; we convene stakeholders around key priorities and actively engage with decision makers to influence global health policy. Learn more at www.globalhealth.org.
Liz Kohlway, Senior Manager, External Affairs & Operations
Global Health Council