Global health security is achieved when all countries possess strong and resilient public health systems that can effectively prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, ensuring the health and well-being of populations globally. The critical mission of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, and in the context of global health security, this means working closely with global partners because, in our interconnected world, a disease threat anywhere is a disease threat everywhere.
Increased international travel and trade, population growth and movement, greater urbanization, ecological changes, and insufficient attention to existing weak health systems are key drivers for the emergence of infectious disease threats. These threats include the perennial threat of pandemic influenza and other respiratory diseases, novel diseases, and antimicrobial resistance, all of which are on the rise. Addressing these complex challenges requires close coordination and collaboration with a wide array of stakeholders from around the world to align efforts and find solutions.
The Office of Pandemics and Emerging Threats (PET)
Within HHS Office of Global Affairs (OGA), the Office of PET plays a leading role in engaging across the U.S. Government and with foreign health ministries, multilateral organizations, and other global health partners to promote strengthening capacities and capabilities to prepare for, prevent, detect, and respond to health threats whether natural, accidental, or deliberate in origin. Recognizing the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health, our efforts are guided by the One Health approach to raise awareness and advance actions to mitigate factors that contribute to the emergence, re-emergence, and spread of zoonotic diseases (i.e., pathogens that spread between animals and humans).
Global Health Security at a Glance:
- Prevention and Detection: We promote the strengthening of resilient health systems that can anticipate and prevent potential outbreaks through coordinated and collaborative surveillance and improving diagnostic capabilities globally as well as through strengthening global biological security and biosafety.
- Health Emergency Preparedness: We drive policy and strategy to strengthen preparedness, including through promoting sustainable financing for preparedness, for an effective response to potential health emergencies.
- Outbreak Response and Coordination: When a health threat emerges, we collaborate and coordinate with domestic and international partners, including governments, academia, and other global health organizations, to mount an effective response through strategic policy work at the international level.
- Global Health Partnerships: Achieving global health security requires collective action. We work collaboratively with a wide range of domestic and global stakeholders to strengthen global health security.
Global Health Security Focus Areas:
- Preparedness for Influenza and Other Pathogens with Epidemic and Pandemic Potential: Having established pandemic preparedness plans and systems in place is a critical part of global health security. We focus on developing and supporting policies and initiatives aimed at combating seasonal and pandemic influenza, other respiratory diseases, and emerging and zoonotic diseases such as viral hemorrhagic fevers and vector-borne infectious diseases, including through investing in research and the development of vaccines and treatments to safeguard populations.
- Response to Infectious Disease Outbreaks: We work at the domestic-international interface by collaborating with national and international partners to develop policies and plans to improve coordination and facilitate the provision of assistance during public health emergencies with both domestic and international implications.
- Combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): We work to combat the rising threat of AMR by promoting responsible use of antibiotics, the development of new antimicrobial products, and advocating for global action to mitigate the emergence and impact of drug-resistant pathogens.
- Sustainable Financing for Preparedness: Achieving global health security requires robust and sustained financing to enhance the resilience of health systems and effectively prevent, detect, and respond to health threats. We work with partners to drive and sustain high-level attention and commitments for financing preparedness and the importance of strengthening the partnership between the finance and health sectors.
- Legal Preparedness: We work to promote legal preparedness as a component of global health security by encouraging the development, review, and refinement of systems, infrastructure, and frameworks to allow for rapid action during a response.
- Strengthening Global Biological Security & Biosafety: We support policies and initiatives and engage with international partners to safeguard against accidental release, theft, or illicit use of dangerous pathogens.
Key Frameworks & Partnerships for Strengthening Global Health Security:
The Office of PET recognizes the value of a multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach to global health security and leads HHS engagement in multilateral partnerships and platforms to strengthen global health security and improve coordinated health emergency response.
- International Health Regulations (IHR): An overarching international legal framework to prevent international health emergencies and strengthen global health security by creating a global surveillance system for rapid information sharing among countries and standards for capacities needed for effective prevention, preparedness, and response to health emergencies at the country level. More information on the IHR can be accessed on the WHO International Health Regulations site.
- Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA): A partnership of over 70 countries, international organizations, non-government organizations, and private sector partners driving multisectoral action at technical and political levels to achieve global health security and strengthen IHR implementation. More information on the GHSA can be accessed on the Global Health Security Agenda page.
- Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI): An informal international partnership to strengthen public health preparedness and response globally to threats of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear terrorism (CBRN), as well as pandemic influenza.
- North American Plan for Animal and Human Influenza (NAPAPI): A cross-sectoral trilateral framework among Canada, Mexico, and the United States to prepare for and respond to outbreaks of animal and human influenza pandemics.
- Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI) – A public-private program that collaborates with countries to strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines reliably and quickly to save lives.
- Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) – A multilateral treaty through the United Nations prohibiting the development, stockpile, production, or transfer of biological agents and toxins for countries that signed the treaty and is legally binding for those 184 state parties that signed the treaty.
- Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction: A G7-led, 31-member international initiative aimed at preventing the proliferation of CBRN weapons and related materials.