KATHMANDU- USAID and the Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal have jointly launched USAID’s Global Health Security Program, a strategic partnership to strengthen the Government of Nepal’s capacity to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to emerging infectious diseases.
This programme will be implemented through “One Health,” a collaborative, trans-disciplinary approach that recognises the interdependence among the health of ecosystems, wildlife and domestic animals, and humans. This partnership is expected to advance U.S. efforts to strengthen technical capacities in 50 countries by 2025 as part of the Biden Administration’s goal to strengthen health security and pandemic preparedness globally, the USAID said.
The COVID-19 pandemic came as a strong reminder of the harm that an emerging zoonotic pathogen can have on human health and global economies. The pandemic also showed us where and how our global health systems need to improve to better identify and contain health threats and fully realise global health security. USAID’s Global Health Security work is helping to fill that gap by strengthening countries’ capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to disease threats before they turn a pandemic, it has been said.
Similarly, it is expected to advance WHO International Health Regulations targets so that countries can address gaps and priorities at the national level. As per the agreement, through Global Health Security in Nepal, USAID will fund the Ministry of Health and Population to strengthen the One Health platform and surveillance systems. USAID will also work through the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Through WHO, USAID will support strengthening disease surveillance especially emerging infectious diseases; improving national laboratory systems to detect emerging infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR); and enhancing health emergency management response for infectious diseases.
Through FAO, USAID will support strengthening AMR surveillance in animal health; strengthening of zoonotic disease surveillance; and improving biosafety and biosecurity in Nepal. In total, USAID will provide up to $6.75 million for these efforts over the next three years, subject to availability of funds. All Global Health Security activities in Nepal, including those supported by USAID and the Pandemic Fund, will be closely coordinated using existing, Nepal-led One Health coordination platforms and will work across all levels of government, it has been said. Speaking at the launch event in Kathmandu, USAID’s Assistant Administrator for Bureau of Asia, Michael Schiffer said, “This program marks a significant step forward in ensuring the health and security of the Nepali population and reflects USAID’s ongoing commitment to global health and pandemic preparedness.”