Health Security and the Distortion of the Global Health Agenda

Authored by: Michael A. Stevenson , Michael Moran

Routledge Handbook of Global Health Security

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  August  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415645478
eBook ISBN: 9780203078563
Adobe ISBN: 9781136155574


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In the late 1990s, the World Health Organization (WHO) sought to raise the profile of communicable diseases in world affairs by highlighting humanity’s common vulnerability to pathogens with pandemic potential (Davies 2008: 297). To mitigate such threats, proponents of what would become known as health security advocated that states embrace three general strategies. First, to ensure early detection of serious, unexpected public health emergencies with the potential to impede global travel and trade, the criteria for health events reportable under international law would require updating (Rodier et al. 2007: 1147). Second, linkages between national disease surveillance programs would have to be strengthened, and states would need to commit to curtailing health threats within their borders while ensuring transparency of process (Katz & Fischer 2010: 8). Finally, governments would need to secure access to sufficient quantities of relevant preventative and therapeutic health technologies such as vaccines and antiviral medications in the event of a global health emergency (Kamradt-Scott 2012: S111).

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