Management Sciences for Health Supports Global Health Bill to Address COVID-19 and Better Prepare for Future Pandemics

Arlington, VA—Management Sciences for Health (MSH) welcomes the newly introduced International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act of 2021 by Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) to improve global pandemic preparedness and response efforts. MSH provided key input into the draft legislation, including language on health systems strengthening, financing mechanisms, and the U.S. government’s coordination function. 

“We commend the Senators for their leadership in preventing the next pandemic and urge the Senate to take up this bill as a matter of priority,” said Ashley Arabasadi, MSH’s Senior External Affairs Manager and co-chair of the Global Health Security Roundtable, hosted by the Global Health Council. “We stand ready to continue to support and provide input from our experience as an NGO working in more than 30 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The legislation recognizes that it is in the U.S.’s national security interest to work with partners to end the current COVID-19 pandemic, including by helping to mitigate the economic impact in vulnerable countries. It provides enhanced Congressional oversight of U.S. foreign assistance, including sharing U.S. vaccines overseas, and it calls for a detailed strategy on global vaccine distribution to ensure access to countries most in need and to leverage other global health programs to bolster the international COVID-19 response.

The proposed bill also enhances strategic planning by requiring the Administration to advance a comprehensive plan to better guide U.S. investments in global health security. It calls for the establishment of a Committee on Global Health Security and Pandemic and Biological Threats at the National Security Council to ensure policy coherence and continuity of effort across the agencies engaged in international and domestic prevention, preparedness, and response. 

It also authorizes U.S. participation in and funding for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, enabling the U.S. to join more than a dozen countries and private foundations around the world in a joint effort to develop new vaccines to prevent and contain epidemics, including COVID-19 variants.

The bill will institute an annual intelligence threat assessment about transmission of potential pandemic pathogens to facilitate early detection and prevention of pandemic threats. It also authorizes U.S. participation in innovative partnerships and financing mechanisms, including the establishment of the Fund for Global Health Security, to catalyze public and private investments in global health security and help resource-constrained countries strengthen health systems and improve pandemic prevention and preparedness.

The full text of the legislation is available here