The world is well acquainted with the profound risks of a global pandemic like COVID-19, which took the lives of millions of people and devastated economies. The only way to enhance global health security is together, declared Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Global Health Security and Diplomacy Symposium. “Indeed, because we worked together ... we were able to lead a global response that helped the world emerge from the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In order to be more prepared for the next health threat, the State Department recently launched the Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy. The new Bureau has been hard at work bringing the power and purpose of American diplomacy to that urgent mission.
“We’re applying [the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or,] PEPFAR’s many lessons — for instance, on how to effectively track outbreaks and deliver medicines to hard-to-reach populations,” said Secretary Blinken.
“We’re also expanding PEPFAR’s reach to more effectively prevent [HIV/AIDS] and serve those living with it,” he added.
“One of the ways we’re doing this is by increasing our collaboration with regional bodies, like the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pan American Health Organization, and helping build up regional manufacturing capabilities in countries, including Senegal and South Africa,” he said. “We’re doing this so that countries can more quickly produce and distribute treatments, tests, protective equipment, and become less reliant on — and vulnerable to — foreign supply.”
The United States is rallying international support for the World Bank’s Pandemic Fund, which will help the international response to future health threats, said Secretary Blinken:
“Already, the Fund is undertaking vital work to build up regional disease surveillance networks, create early warning systems, and expand public health workforces around the world. Since the Fund’s launch a year ago, the United States has contributed $450 million — about a quarter of its total contributions to date — and we’ll continue to work with partners to mobilize additional support.”
The United States is strengthening its global health security infrastructure by helping modernize existing institutions, like the World Health Organization.
The United States will continue to seek out is friends and allies for ideas, perspectives, and partnerships, said Secretary Blinken. “Because only if we work together, can we build a more healthy, safe, and secure world for all.”