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On top of everything, GOP stinginess could lead to a global pandemic

After the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, the United States promised to help fight epidemics around the globe and Congress allotted over $ 4 billion to quell the contagion and approximately $ 1 billion for general infectious-disease prevention.

Four years late, that money is nearly dried up, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing to significantly curtail epidemic prevention in 39 countries, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

The five-year package from Congress was part of the Global Health Security Agenda public-health initiative, “a five-year international partnership to improve the health security of developing nations,” Ed Yong of the Atlantic wrote. Tasked to stop diseases at their source and prevent them from becoming epidemics, its effects were substantial.

Yong reported:

Thanks to the GHSA, Uganda now has a secure lab for studying dangerous germs. Tanzania has a digital communications network so people can phone in information on potential outbreaks from remote locations. Liberia has more than 115 frontline disease detectives trained by the CDC. Cameroon shortened its response time to recent outbreaks of cholera and bird flu shortened from 8 weeks to just 24 hours. The DRC controlled an outbreak of yellow fever and built an emergency operations center (EOC)—a kind of war room for responding to outbreaks. But there is still much to do: The DRC, for example, still needs to train staff to run its EOC.

But come September 2019, the money is set to run out. The CDC is already making preparations to downsize in countries notorious for infectious diseases, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, which recently endured and beat its eighth Ebola outbreak, and China, which is currently experiencing a horrific H7N9 bird flu epidemic. Haiti, Pakistan and Rwanda are also losing support. Officials say CDC will instead focus its efforts on 10 “priority countries” — India, Vietnam, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Guatemala — beginning October 2019.

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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