Since a bipartisan group of U.S. representatives introduced the Global Health Security Act of 2019 (H.R. 2166), legislation that will revitalize U.S. government commitment to advancing global health security, the need for its passage has only increased. The bill was recently advanced out of House Foreign Affairs Committee but awaits full floor vote.
While global efforts to prepare for pandemics have somewhat improved, the world is still insufficiently prepared to manage global public health threats. The international community must continue to share resources and knowledge, and invest in building strong health systems that can withstand such public health threats. The Global Health Security Act seeks to bolster U.S. government’s efforts to prevent, detect and respond to global pandemics. It aims to strengthen U.S. commitments under the Global Health Security Agenda, a multilateral initiative launched in 2014 to build countries’ capacity to manage infectious disease threats and elevate health security as a global priority.
The ELCA social statement, Caring for Health: Our Shared Endeavor, guides our church's teaching and priorities on caring for the health of our neighbors. It states, “Since threats to health do not respect national boundaries, nations and international organizations must cooperate in public health efforts. In facing this global challenge, the United States government and non-governmental organizations have responsibility to work with others in such areas as … preventing and combating infectious diseases” (page 14). Our response to pandemic with Christian faith moves us to love God and love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.
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