#HealthSystems, Prevention, and Preparing for Epidemics - Part 2: Health Security

#HealthSystems, Prevention, and Preparing for Epidemics - Part 2: Health Security

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}Irene Koek of USAID’s Global Health Bureau gives closing remarks at the health security side event in Geneva.Photo credit: MSH staff

This is the second in a new series on improving the health of the poorest and most vulnerable women, girls, families, and communities by prioritizing prevention and preparing health systems for epidemics (read Part 1). Join the conversation online with hashtag .

World Health Assembly and Beyond: Advancing the Global Health Security Agenda

Outbreaks are inevitable. Epidemics are preventable.

Last month, the No More Epidemics campaign convened a high-level, multi-sectoral panel on the Global Health Security Agenda during the 69th World Health Assembly (WHA69) in Geneva, Switzerland.

No More Epidemics is a five-year global campaign, led by International Medical Corps, Save the Children, African Field Epidemiology Network, and Management Sciences for Health, that brings together partners from the business community, academia, and civil society to work with governments and multilateral institutions to ensure we are better protected from epidemics.

The panel was comprised of three ministers of health (Uganda, Peru, and Ethiopia), a representative of a permanent mission to Geneva (Finland), and a leader from the private sector (GE Foundation).

The discussion highlighted the need to ensure that epidemic prevention, preparedness and response capabilities are sustainable under the Global Health Security Agenda.

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{Photo: WaterAid}Photo: WaterAid

Also in Geneva, No More Epidemics co-sponsored a panel discussion with WaterAid, Global Health Council, and Dentons on Closing the Gap: The Importance of WASH in Health Service Delivery. Moderated by Dr. Shams Syed from the World Health Organization, the event explored the links between water, sanitation, and health at the community level, and in particular the impact of the WASH gap on health outcomes.

The discussion focused on how to close these gaps, beginning with identifying leadership opportunities and efforts already underway from across the health sector.

Panelists included representatives from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cambodian Ministry of Health, USAID's African Strategies for Health Project (implemented by Management Sciences for Health), GE Foundation/Ethiopia, Global Health Council, Dentons, and WaterAid West Africa.

MSH's Sarah Konopka commented on the importance of consistent and sustainable access to clean water to the effective and safe delivery of health services. She cited an example from the African Strategies for Health Project's work to improve the quality of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy in Uganda, which found that the majority of health workers surveyed did not have access to a clean water source within a kilometer of the health facility in which they work. The example underscored how inadequate WASH in facilities can serve as a barrier to the delivery of seemingly routine health services.

In discussing leadership opportunities, she identified regional institutions as critical allies to advance progress on WASH and advocate for the inclusion of WASH in health and development policies. 

Learn more about the Global Action Plan on WASH in health-care facilities

Next week, No More Epidemics Campaign Director, Frank Smith, PhD, will join world leaders at the High-level Stakeholders Meeting on Advancing Global Health Security in Bali, Indonesia. The campaign will contribute to the implementation of the International Health Regulations and increasing international support for the Global Health Security Agenda.

Join the conversation, led by the World Health Organization ( on Twitter), with hashtag .

[Uganda.] {Photo: Rui Pires}Uganda.Photo: Rui Pires

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[Infographic: @ NoMoreEpidemics # healthsystems # healthsecurity]Infographic: @ NoMoreEpidemics # healthsystems # healthsecurity