What we’re reading: From political machinations, to vulnerability on the frontlines, the insecurity of global health security

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Global Health Security: Protecting the United States in an Interconnected World – The reasons to ensure that all countries have the skills, staff and tools they need to detect, prevent, respond to and contain outbreaks of infectious diseases can be counted by the numbers of people spared from preventable illness and death, and by the benefits of living in a more stable and prosperous world. This piece, however, focuses on one country — the United States — and the reasons its leadership role in the Global Health Security Agenda supports self-interest as well as international goals.

Safety for Frontline Health Workers Paramount to Ebola Response and Global Health Security – Among the at least 186 people who have died from Ebola since the current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo began, three were health workers, on the frontlines of efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Access to an investigational vaccine this time, and during the northwestern DRC outbreak immediately preceding this one, has protected health workers and prevented the toll from being greater, this piece notes, but health workers, delivering services in a war zone, continue to be endangered, not just in the DRC but in conflict zones and unstable settings around the world. The value of local frontline health providers has been demonstrated repeatedly, the authors, Carol Bales of IntraHealth International, and Vince Blaser of Frontline Health Workers Coalition, write, noting that more than 75 percent of responders to DRC’s previous northwestern outbreak were local and were critical to containing the outbreak within 16 weeks. That value should be reflected in the training, preparation and protection they receive, the piece argues.

The Future of Trump’s Global Health Agenda – While needs to strengthen global health responses continue, the reliability of U.S. involvement does not, this Lancet piece notes, warning U.S. legislators as well as other countries to prepare to fill the gaps in global health leadership during the current administration.

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