Remarks for Regional Stakeholder Meeting on Veterinary Epidemiology Capacity Development
for Global Health Security Agenda countries in Africa
Ms. Martina Boustani,
Deputy Chief of Mission, United States Embassy Dakar
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 9AM
Monsieur le ministre de la Santé et de l’Action sociale
Madame le ministre de l’Elevage et des productions animales
Madame la représentante de la FAO au Sénégal
Mesdames, Messieurs les vétérinaires en chef
Mesdames, Messieurs les Directeurs des laboratoires nationaux de références
It is my pleasure to be with you today as we take another step forward in ensuring the world is better prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to global health threats. These threats are real. And, as we have seen in the case of Ebola, they can have a devastating effect, both for people, and for the countries they live in.
Three years ago, more than 50 countries, international organizations and other groups came together to launch the Global Health Security Agenda, which is designed to help build countries’ capacity to create a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats.
A key component of this agenda is the One Health approach. One Health recognizes that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the health of the environment. And that’s why you’re here today.
There has been some progress in the public health sector fighting against emerging threats. That reflects investment in the more traditional, human-centered management approach. But we will not achieve our One Health goals unless we make the same advances in veterinary and environmental preparedness.
The different sectors need to work together. And a critical component of this is Field Epidemiology, which is often on the front lines of defense and response. We need to be more inclusive, more creative, and more adept.
This event is the first step in getting there. It will help each of you to better understand, promote and implement approaches that prevent the emergence and spread of global health threats.
Better understanding will mean that threats are spotted earlier, allowing faster, more effective responses.
Better promotion will mean that people and governments are more aware of ways to avoid disease spread, and employ proven systems for detecting and containing them when they do occur.
And better implementation will help ensure that we bridge the gaps in skills, resources and policies necessary to contain and mitigate the impact and risk of emerging and endemic threats.
I would like to congratulate each of the governments represented in this room today for the political leadership they have demonstrated by investing the time, resources, and effort necessary to bolster the region’s readiness.
The U.S. Government places the highest priority on the Global Health Security Agenda. We are investing $45 million – almost 25 billion CFA – because we recognize that infectious diseases are among the foremost dangers to human health and global security.
In this era of global travel, trade and commerce, we are all equally exposed to a world where disease can spread faster than ever before. An infected person – a person who might not even realize they are infected – can fly from Dakar this morning to Paris, or New York or Johannesburg and be there tonight.
There is no way we can stop that. But there are ways that we can all be better prepared. And the United States is proud to partner with you for events like this to develop preparedness.