Action Alert: End Global Pandemics
July 22, 2019
We can end today’s pandemics. We can prevent future pandemics. We can save lives with health systems that address economic, racial and gender inequity while improving our trade and diplomatic standing. BUT URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED. Rapid spread of a new or re-emerging infectious disease is highly likely in the coming years and could cost the lives of tens of millions of people. Drug resistance is decreasing our ability to fight deadly infections. A catastrophic event could destabilize countries and economic losses could top $3.5 trillion. Climate change is predicted to magnify the deadly impact and risks of infectious disease by driving severe food and water shortages, expanding the path of vector-borne diseases globally, and worsening extreme weather events that provide fertile ground for outbreaks. With global inequality rising, deadly epidemics disproportionately affect LGBTQ people, people of color, the poor, migrants, women, and young people.
The United States has led the world in confronting crises from AIDS to Ebola to the flu. Doing so has driven scientific advancements and improved wellbeing in the U.S. and abroad. But instead of advancing global health, the Administration recently proposed funding cuts, putting our $100 billion investment at risk. In a time of rising conflict, displacement, and climate change, we need forward-looking U.S. global health leadership. Presidential candidates should commit to developing and implementing a bold initiative to stop the pandemics of today and tomorrow to improve economic prosperity and global wellbeing.
We call on all Presidential candidates to adopt a plan that renews American leadership to: Double U.S. investment in a transformative whole-of-government effort to both end global AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and ensure low- and middle-income countries can detect disease and advance the health of their people before outbreaks become pandemics. Funding must be additional to other programs that build a healthy and resilient world. Recognize climate change is affecting health and invest in early warning systems and adaptation efforts to address disease challenges posed by a warming planet as part of a bold climate strategy. Focus not just on protecting American lives but on lifting the health of the most vulnerable globally through strategic investments in health workforce, infrastructure, laboratories, and data systems. Harness the best of American innovation, research, and technology to fight pandemics while ensuring trade agreements and intellectual property rules expand (not undermine) affordable access globally. Challenge other countries to join us in a global effort to stop pandemics—using all avenues from the UN to direct diplomacy to push wealthy countries to match our increased international funding and low- and middle-income countries to increase domestic investment. Ensure U.S. foreign assistance is grounded in anti-discriminatory, human rights-based approaches, and is responsive to the needs of the people affected.