Global Health Security
Global health security refers to preparing for, responding to, and recovering from a public health emergency or event that adversely impacts security, destabilization of economies, disrupts social cohesiveness, and affects the critical business of government at a global level. Global health security threats arise from many sources and can include emerging infectious diseases, natural disasters, the release of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRN) agents, vulnerabilities across the global food supply, as well as many others.
Local health departments (LHDs) are the first place community partners turn to in order to provide information about public health threats and measures to stay safe, mobilize community partners to work collaboratively to address public health challenges, serve as a link to health care services, and enforce the laws and regulations that keep communities safe. This proved to be the case during the 2014 Ebola response as LHDs prepared for potential cases in the United States. National and international focus surrounding Ebola underscored that “everything is local” showing that LHDs play a critical role in achieving both national and global health security to the emerging threats caused by the globalization of diseases, travel, food, and medicines.
NACCHO’s preparedness initiatives are focused on helping stakeholders, including local health departments (LHDs), implement and utilize regulations and federal partnerships that are working towards the development of global health capacity and capabilities. NACCHO is working to strengthen national capacity and capabilities by detecting diseases in a timely manner, preventing the spread of public health threats and diseases, and responding to public health emergencies all at a global level.
2014-2015 Ebola Response
Since July 2014, NACCHO has been monitoring the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and working with state and local health departments, CDC, ASPR, and other national partners to determine coordinate national preparedness and response efforts. In October 2015, in response to the first domestic case of Ebola in the United States and increasing demand from local health departments, NACCHO activated a modified incident command structure to support local response efforts. NACCHO staff deployed to CDC’s emergency operations center, provided technical assistance and resources to local health departments, and facilitated communications and situational awareness between federal, state, and local public health response partners.
As the domestic response stabilized, NACCHO and ASTHO led a national in-progress review of the public health systems’ response to Ebola. The goal of the review was to identify lessons learned and develop recommendations for improving the current and future public health system response and recovery to infectious disease threats. A report summarizing the meeting and key recommendations is under development and will be available on NACCHO’s website upon completion.
NACCHO continues to ensure that the concerns of local health departments are addressed in guidance and plans for the current and future infectious disease responses.