Diseases know no boundaries; a health threat anywhere is a health threat everywhere. New viral and bacterial pathogens continue to emerge and in today's tightly connected world a disease can be transported from an isolated rural village to any major city in as little as 36 hours. The recent Ebola epidemic clearly demonstrated that at majority of the countries (at least 70%) are not prepared to respond to disease events. It also emphasized the overdue and urgent need to implement core capacities of WHO's International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005). This would help countries have the ability to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats at source, which will not only reduce morbidity and mortality but also the economic impact for the developing countries as well as globally. At present, 65 countries have committed to implement the Global Health Security agenda that supports the implementation of IHR, 2005. Examples from its recent accomplishments and achievements have demonstrated the ability of countries to conduct timely disease surveillance and response to public health events.
Principal Deputy Director, Division of Global Health Protection, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA