The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Consortium represents a membership of over 100 individuals and organizations committed to the prevention, detection, and response to infectious disease threats, whether naturally occurring, deliberate, or accidental. The significant and devastating health, economic, and national security impact of global pandemics, bioterrorism events, or accidental outbreaks in the United States is well-established, costing as many as 80 million lives and up to $60 billion a year to contain.
Unfortunately, the Administration’s proposed budget would slash the programs that are designed to stop outbreaks at the source, leaving America less safe and less secure against pandemics and bioterrorism events. The proposed budget would severely weaken efforts through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—including its unmatched cadre of deployed global disease detectives who protect Americans by snuffing outbreaks before they become epidemics. The proposed budget eliminates global health security funding within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), including programs targeted at detecting outbreaks as they jump from animals to people—electing instead to provide one-time, temporary redirection of previously appropriated Ebola funding toward that effort. The budget also dramatically cuts foreign assistance and health agency budgets that are needed to bolster sustainable capacity to fight epidemics, including HIV/AIDS, influenza, Zika, Ebola, and emerging infectious diseases. Finally, the proposed budget would eliminate funding for the Fogarty International Center, as well as severely cut other programs at the National Institutes of Health, which supports research and development partnerships vital to the US’ ability to understand, diagnose, and prevent disease. Taken together, these devastating cuts make Americans less safe and secure, increasing the likelihood that a pandemic will spread silently and globally before it can be detected and stopped.