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Global Health Security Agenda

Global health security has never been more critical to the well-being of the United States and its citizens than it is right now. Infectious diseases spread more quickly than they ever have before, as evidenced by the Ebola, Zika, and bird flu outbreaks. New bacteria and viruses are emerging, and others are growing resistant to existing antibiotics.

The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) is a worldwide effort to address this evolving reality. Through a growing multisectoral partnership of international organizations, non-governmental stakeholders, and more than 50 countries, GHSA is accelerating efforts to build countries’ capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases and achieve the core capacities required by the International Health Regulations (IHR).

“We issued a challenge to ourselves and to all nations of the world to make concrete pledges towards three key goals:  prevent, detect and respond.  We have to prevent outbreaks by reducing risks.  We need to detect threats immediately wherever they arise.  And we need to respond rapidly and effectively when we see something happening so that we can save lives and avert even larger outbreaks. —President Obama, 2014 Global Health Security Agenda Summit 

These words encapsulate the aim of the GHSA, a multinational and multi-sectoral initiative to which DoD is proud to be committed. Preventing, detecting, and responding to infectious disease threats requires holistic solutions through strengthened relationships with health services, other government and industry partners, and academia. Cooperation is a force multiplier; cross-cutting collaboration is required at the national as well as the international level as well. Though DoD is in a supporting position, there is a clear and important role to be played by military medicine: the GHSA offers DoD and other militaries a framework to engage and better coordinate with interagency (other ministries) and international partners. 

In addition to collaboration and support, many of DoD’s existing efforts and priorities complement the GHSA. DoD has long focused on bio-threats, even prior to the establishment of the GHSA. Activities within the realms of force health protection, countering weapons of mass destruction, threat reduction, building partner capacity, and supporting science & technology programs work to further goals that align with GHSA objectives. 

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Sailors, Afghan medical professionals team up to improve medical care

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10/10/2018
Navy Lt. Cdr. Travis J. Fitzpatrick, senior nurse for Kandahar Airfield NATO Role III Multinational Medical Unit, demonstrates a technique on how to clear the airway of a patient to Afghan medical staff members during a medical advisory visit at Kandahar Regional Military Hospital, Camp Hero in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Staff members from the Role III conduct routine visits to KRMH to train and advise Afghan medical staff. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Neysa Canfield)

The Kandahar Regional Military Hospital is run by Afghan military and civilian medical professionals

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USNS Comfort to deploy to Central and South America

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10/9/2018
The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is scheduled to depart Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, en route to South America and Central America where it will conduct an 11-week medical assistance mission working closely with host-nation health and government partners in Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Honduras. This mission marks the sixth time the hospital ship will provide medical assistance in the region and reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with the Americas. (U.S. Navy file photo)

The ship’s crew will include more than 200 U.S. and partner nation military doctors, nurses and technicians

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U.S. Department of Defense Continued Support to the Global Health Security Agenda: Updates from Korea

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11/29/2017
Left to right: LTC Seungwoo Park, Republic of Korea MND, MG Ben Yura Rimba, Indonesia TNI, and Dr. J. Christopher Daniel, U.S. DoD.

In late July, the Global Health Security Agenda (link is external) (GHSA) Steering Group (link is external), chaired by the Republic of Korea, convened in Seoul to discuss ongoing implementation of the GHSA (link is external)

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Strengthening capabilities, fostering partnership top priorities at global health summit

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10/27/2017
Admiral Tim Ziemer, head of U.S. delegation, giving remarks at the Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Meeting in Kampala, Uganda.

A growing partnership of more than 60 nations is working to build countries’ capacity to help create a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats and elevate global health security

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Military medicine promotes global health security with partner nations in West Africa

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3/9/2017
Dr. David J. Smith, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, right, and Dr. Chris Daniel, senior advisor for global health engagement, (second from right), discuss laboratory capabilities with Nigerian medical officials. (Courtesy photo)

Working with partner nations to develop medical capabilities and experience is a critical part of our military medical mission

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The intersection of health and security: The value of Global Health Engagement

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The U.S. government has reaffirmed that global health is a critical priority in achieving a peaceful, prosperous and secure society

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