Pandemic Preparedness & Global Health Security

Pandemics are one of the biggest threats facing humanity today. An infectious disease outbreak could rapidly lead to millions of deaths across the globe, destabilize governments, shut down trade and travel, and have significant, detrimental effects on the world’s economy. 

Recent spread of diseases like SARS, Ebola, and Zika demonstrate that such outbreaks are “the new normal,” illustrating that a disease outbreak anywhere can lead to a disease outbreak everywhere. We cannot predict when and where the next pandemic will begin, but we can prepare. Preventing and stopping pandemics and bolstering global health security require a comprehensive and multifaceted approach, necessitating engagement with leaders across sectors and disciplines.

The Harvard Global Health Institute recently led the development of a comprehensive framework for Global Monitoring of Disease Outbreak Preparedness. The report summary on this effort reflect the combined expertise of over fifty public health professionals from institutions around the world who gathered in Washington, D.C. in April 2017 at the U.S. National Academies of Medicine. The result of this effort, is a robust, objective, evidence-based monitoring framework structured along four key domains (see figure below), reflecting a multi-sectoral, “whole-of-society” approach to preparedness.

Report

The report and summary reflect the combined expertise of over fifty public health professionals from institutions from around the world who gathered in Washington, D.C. in April 2017 at the U.S. National Academies of Medicine. The result is a robust, objective, evidence-based monitoring framework structured along four key domains (see figure below), reflecting a multi-sectoral, “whole-of-society” approach to preparedness.

Cover Photo: Healthcare providers leave a village after completion of a culling operation in response to a bird flu outbreak in Budgebudge, West Bengal, India. © 2008 Sudipto Das, Courtesy of Photoshare.