Ending Pandemics: US Foreign Policy to Mitigate Today’s Major Killers, Tomorrow’s Outbreaks, and the Health Impacts of Climate Change

New pieces make the case that whomever is in the White House needs a proactive strategic initiative, based in global solidarity, to address today’s pandemics, tomorrow’s outbreaks, and the health impacts of climate change. In a new piece in Foreign Policy, Matthew Kavanagh, director of the O’Neill Institute’s Global Health Policy & Governance Initiative, writes that “the well-being of Americans in today’s globalized world is inextricably linked to that of people around the globe, while the effects of pandemics are borne disproportionately by the least powerful.”

A new analysis from researchers at Georgetown University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, and leading non-governmental organizations shows the fight against AIDS, TB, and malaria is significantly off track; the likelihood of a pandemic outbreak capable of killing millions and undermining the global economy and security is high; and the changing climate will increase the likelihood of deadly outbreaks and pandemics. The analysis, published in the Journal of International Affairs, shows:

  • Pandemics and other infectious diseases have a high cost to the global economy, causing $1.7 trillion in lost productivity in low- and middle-income countries.  
  • Investments could return $17 to $20 on every $1 spent.
  • The U.S. currently spends just 0.19% of the U.S. budget in pandemic-related global health efforts.

The Institute is pleased to share the analysis on what a strategic, whole-of-government U.S. foreign policy initiative to address pandemics could look like.

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