No More Epidemics Campaign Convenes Health Ministers, Global Fund and Private Sector to Discuss the Global Health Security Agenda at the 69th World Health Assembly

No More Epidemics Campaign Convenes Health Ministers, Global Fund and Private Sector to Discuss the Global Health Security Agenda at the 69th World Health Assembly

 {Photo credit: Matthew Martin/MSH}Mark R. Dybul, executive director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, expressed enthusiastic support for strategies combating epidemics in his keynote address.Photo credit: Matthew Martin/MSH

The No More Epidemics campaign convened a multi-sectoral panel on “Advancing the Global Health Security Agenda” at the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland on May 25, 2016. Keynote speaker, Mark Dybul, MD, Executive Director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, expressed enthusiastic support for strategies combating epidemics. Dybul emphasized the importance of community level engagement in infectious disease preparedness and response, stressing that interventions cannot end at a health clinic, they must continue on to the “last mile”.

The panel was comprised of H.E. Kesetebirhan Admasu, MD, Minister of Health, Ethiopia; H.E. Aníbal Velasquez Valdivia, MD, Minister of Health, Peru; H.E. Elioda Tumwesigye, MD, Minister of Health, Uganda; as well as David Barash, MD, Chief Medical Officer, GE Foundation; and Minister Renne Klinge, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Finland to Geneva.

The discussion, moderated by MSH President and CEO, Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH, highlighted the need to ensure that epidemic prevention, preparedness and response capabilities are sustainable under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).

Patricia Bland Nicklin, vice president of MSH’s Global Partnerships, Marketing & Communications, opened the event.

[L to R: H.E. Kesetebirhan Admasu, MD, Minister of Health, Ethiopia; H.E. Elioda Tumwesigye, MD, Minister of Health, Uganda; David Barash , MD, Chief Medical Officer, GE Foundation] {Photo credit: Barbara Ayotte/MSH}L to R: H.E. Kesetebirhan Admasu, MD, Minister of Health, Ethiopia; H.E. Elioda Tumwesigye, MD, Minister of Health, Uganda; David Barash , MD, Chief Medical Officer, GE FoundationPhoto credit: Barbara Ayotte/MSH

Admasu (Ethiopia), stressed the learning aspect of participating in the Joint External Evaluation. He also stated the importance of community engagement and ownership in establishing effective health systems able to prevent and respond to disease outbreaks.

Valdivia (Peru) spoke of measures undertaken to strengthen the Peruvian health infrastructure, including the founding of a center for disease control to address gaps in the health infrastructure.

Tumwesigye (Uganda) emphasized the importance of multi-level health systems and the need for continued, multi-sectoral collaboration to improve health security.  

Barash (GE Foundation) highlighted the importance of cross-sector collaboration in maintaining public health security, suggesting that private sector expertise can address gaps in surveillance and data management for epidemic preparedness.

Klinge (Finland) emphasized the need for transparency throughout the GHSA in helping to build country capacity.

One of the overarching messages to come out of this panel discussion was the need to ensure the GHSA does not become another vertical intervention, and that it be integrated within the wider public health system. In her closing remarks, acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Global Health Bureau, Irene Koek recognized the increased threat of infectious disease outbreaks and stressed the need for multisectoral, sustainable health systems that promote health and the importance of engaging communities outside of the formal health sector.

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Ashley Arabasadi is policy advisor of No More Epidemics.

This post originally appeared on NoMoreEpidemics.org

No More Epidemics is a five-year global campaign that brings together partners from the business community, academia, and civil society to work with governments and multilateral institutions to ensure we are better protected from epidemics. For more information visit NoMoreEpidemics.org or contact Dr. Frank Smith, campaign director.

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