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August 19, 2022

Readying Countries for the next Infectious Disease Outbreak

by EIDHS General

A trained member of FHI 360’s safe and dignified burial team in the Democratic Republic of the Congo shows colleagues how to dress themselves in personal protective equipment to handle bodies of people who died from Ebola. The training took place in early 2021, during the 90-day surveillance period of the country’s 11th Ebola outbreak. Photo credit: Carly Madison Underwood for FHI 360.

Janet Robinson, portfolio director of FHI 360’s Emerging Infectious Diseases and Health Security (EIDHS) group, speaks about a now-familiar type of humanitarian crisis: infectious disease outbreaks.

What is the broad framework in which you and others in the global health community are thinking about global health security?

There are three primary objectives of global health security: (1) We want to prevent an infectious disease outbreak; (2) if it happens, we want to detect it; and (3) if we detect it, we want to rapidly respond. We work to fortify our systems — to improve the ability of laboratories to diagnose diseases and to ensure that rapid reporting systems alert us when an outbreak starts — so that when an outbreak like monkeypox occurs, we can respond quickly and effectively.

The reality is that the world will always face the emergence and reemergence of new and existing pathogens. At FHI 360, we view our investment in global health security as critical to the health and well-being of communities, countries and the planet.

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