Lesson 1: Global Health Security and You

[TEXT: Young African Leaders Initiative:
Online Training Series] Hi, my name is Dr. Edmund Rutta, Senior Technical Advisor on
Tuberculosis in USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, [TEXT: Edmund Rutta, Senior Technical Advisor on
Tuberculosis, USAID Bureau for Global Health] and this is
Global Health Security and You. [TEXT: Effective Communication for Healthy Outcomes, Global Health
Security and You] [TEXT: Learning Objectives: Global Health Security and You] In this
lesson we will focus on global health security and the critical
role that health information plays in [TEXT: What is global health security?] surveillance, prevention
and mitigation of infectious disease outbreaks. [TEXT: How to collect, analyze and disseminate health information]
We will look at the key elements necessary for the collection,
analysis, and dissemination of health information. [TEXT: How to use digital tools to collect health data]
And finally, we will examine the importance of giving citizens access to digital tools to support the collection
and use of reliable health data.

As a TB expert, I know first-hand how easily an infectious
disease can spread from a localized threat to one that puts at risk entire populations in multiple cities and
even across regions, countries, and continents. [TEXT: Diseases do not respect borders.] Diseases don’t respect
borders. Credible information, a resilient health system and contingency
planning can stop an epidemic and prevent it from turning it into a
pandemic. The West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014 could have been contained but
poor health infrastructure, weak surveillance systems, lack of reliable health data and often
contradicting health messages turned it into an epidemic of global
proportions.

The international community was caught
unprepared and the consequences were grave: [TEXT: Over 30 thousand Ebola cases … 11 thousand deaths] over
30,000 Ebola cases, including approximately 11,000 dead from the
disease, another 10,000 estimated deaths due to
other health conditions going untreated, [TEXT: Poor coordination and communication] and millions of dollars
lost in duplication of efforts due to poor coordination and
communication across the global system. Further impacts on
food security, employment, healthcare, and education were felt for
months after the end of the outbreak. Many survivors
still struggle. Rumors, which tend to increase during any crisis, were not promptly
addressed via credible sources of information, a factor that
contributed to speculation, misinformation, and increased
infections. [TEXT: Ebola outbreaks exposed major gaps in global health crisis
management.] In many ways, the Ebola outbreak was a wake-up call
that exposed major weaknesses in the global system for addressing epidemic threats. But this tragic event also brought forth a commitment to a new
collective paradigm centered around global health security. We will look at the communication challenges and lessons learned on
the digital front from the Ebola outbreak later in this lesson. But first, I’ll outline the
Global Health Security Agenda. [TEXT: Global Health Security Agenda] The Global Health Security
Agenda or GHSA was launched in partnership with countries from
around the world.

[TEXT: Improve the capacities of countries to protect people against
infectious diseases.] The GHSA seeks to improve the capacities of
countries by strengthening health systems to protect people around the world
against infectious diseases. It also aims to attain a world safe and secure from global health
threats posed by infectious diseases through multilateral and multi-sectoral collaboration and the sharing of best practices
and metrics between partners – both those in government, as well as private and non-governmental stakeholders. As one of several implementing agencies for the United States’ GHSA
programs, [TEXT: USAID, from the American People]
the U.S. Agency for International Development is actively
working with our interagency partners around the world to channel resources to issues like animal health
and addressing existing and emerging zoonotic pathogens. [TEXT: Did you know? New outbreaks originate in
animals.] Are you aware, for instance, that 60 to 80 percent of new
infectious disease outbreaks originate in animals? With our partners, we are working toward the prevention of animal to
human infections, as well as anti-microbial resistance by promoting
the rational use of antibiotics.

By doing this we will be better prepared to work with governments
and communities to prevent and mitigate future health threats. Furthermore, USAID supports the preparedness and response to
infectious disease outbreaks at the community level including training health care workers in how other sectors can
influence disease transmission. The unifying theme of our work is to bring together the sectors of
animal health, human health, and environmental health to address the
burden of disease on communities. Strengthening
health systems and enhancing critical infrastructure also serves to
provide better access to healthcare for citizens and improve the quality and reliability of available health information. [TEXT: Collecting, Analyzing and Disseminating Accurate Health
Information] With the frequency and intensity of infectious disease outbreaks and
events increasing, there will be a continued need for global health
security resources. [TEXT: Safe, secure and strong laboratories … Well-trained
workforce] All countries need safe, secure, and strong laboratories;
a well-trained workforce; [TEXT: Multi-sectoral collaboration … Reliable disease surveillance
systems] multi-sectoral collaboration; reliable and sensitive
real-time disease surveillance systems; [TEXT: Command structure] and a command structure to coordinate an
effective and focused response that includes health practitioners and other professionals, along with the general
public.

Strengthening the surveillance, laboratory, and workforce will be
critical as countries build the capacity to respond on their own to
new disease threats. [TEXT: What is your role in preventing the next disease outbreak?]
So, you have a role to play in making sure your country is
supporting approaches to prevent the next disease
outbreak and promote global health security, including prioritizing capacity building for these kinds of
resources before an outbreak strikes. As health communicators, you have a vital role to play to ensure
that accurate and timely information is delivered to the public to [TEXT: Inform … Raise awareness … Respond effectively during an
outbreak] inform, raise awareness, respond effectively during an
outbreak, [TEXT: Teach best practices to communities] and teach the best
practices for the community to take action. For instance, to help prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases,
educate yourself about food safety regulations in your country and why it is important to vaccinate
animals against certain diseases.

The collection, analysis and dissemination of accurate health
information is also critical for making effective policy and programmatic
decisions that will ensure that resources get to where they are
needed most. Unfortunately, communities must often deal with an array
of disconnected and parallel data systems; weak governance on enforcing information system standards; and
insufficient capacity of data use in health care. For example, a recent assessment of
Tanzania’s information systems [TEXT: 153 disconnected information systems across the health
sector] found 153 disconnected and separately financed and
implemented health information systems operating in various
programs and geographies across the health sector.

This is particularly troublesome during a health
crisis, when the health infrastructure is under siege and basic
health services are disrupted due to a surge in demand. [TEXT: Fighting Ebola with Information] In 2016,
USAID published a report entitled Fighting Ebola with Information:
Learning from the Use of Data, Information and Digital Technologies. A number of factors contributed to the “fog of information” that
characterized the collection and use of data in the early days of
the epidemic to capture how Ebola spread. [TEXT: Weak infrastructure … Absence of baseline data]
These included: weak infrastructure, such as gaps in reliable
electricity and digital connectivity; an absence of baseline data on populations; [TEXT: Lack of comprehensive maps … Lack of
machine-readable data] comprehensive and accessible geographic maps,
and the lack of machine-readable data.

Given the lack of data in communicaton infrascture, rumors about how
the Ebola virus was transmitted and inaccurate health information on
what constituted safe or unsafe behaviors caused panic and fueled
the epidemic. Training local journalists on how to responsibly
report a health crisis became a priority as efforts to contain the
epidemic increased and people realized that existing public messaging was not sufficient. Adequately
trained local journalists have a role to play in fostering dialogue,
addressing rumors and providing accurate health information.

[TEXT: Bridging the Digital Divide: Investing in Healthy
Communities] Building strong digital health systems and integrating social and
behavior change approaches are vital steps to advance global health
security and be better prepared to contain the next epidemic. As outlined in
the Fighting Ebola with Information report, key recommendations
include: [TEXT: Key Recommendations: Investing in digital
infrastructure] One, investing in the physical infrastructure that
extends digital connectivity. That means building more digital
towers to connect people who live in remote areas; [TEXT: Conducting baseline ICT
assessments] Two, conducting baseline, countrywide information and
communication technology assessments to gauge the reach, quality,
and access to mobile and broadband connectivity; [TEXT: Leveraging digital systems and real-time data] Three,
building staff capacity and data literacy as well as institutional
capacity to leverage digital systems and real-time data in support of operations, programs, and decision-making; [TEXT: Increase network access for emergencies] and Four,
negotiating preparedness protocols with key actors to increase telecommunications network access in emergency situations. By doing all of this and more, we will be better prepared to respond
effectively to a health crisis in the future. One of the positive
examples that came out of the Ebola crisis is
the mHero platform, [TEXT: mHero] a two-way, mobile phone based communication platform
that supports dialogue between ministries of health and health
workers.

This tool contributed greatly
to improving the collection of accurate health data and the
dissemination of reliable health messaging in the affected countries. Going forward, we must strengthen the technical, institutional, and
human systems required to rapidly gather, transmit, analyze, use, and share health data that is
essential to promoting global health security. This is critical both to keep pace with diseases that
spread with the ferocity and velocity of Ebola, and to be more resilient in the face of future global health
threats. [TEXT: Test your knowledge … YALI.state.gov … YALI Network]
After you have completed all the lessons in this course at [TEXT: Photo credits: USAID … HRSA at U.S Department of Health and
Human Services] YALI dot state dot gov, you can test your knowledge
98
00:11:23,683 –> 00:00:00,000
[TEXT: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention … Produced by the
U.S. Department of State] and earn a YALI Network Certificate..

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