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United States

Promote Data Sharing About Global Preparedness for Epidemic Threats (US0097)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United States Action Plan 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: NA

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building

IRM Review

IRM Report: United States End-of-Term IRM Report 2015-2017, United States Mid-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The United States will undergo and publicly release an external assessment of capability across public and animal health systems to prevent, detect, and respond to epidemic threats, utilizing the 11 targets of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). Through the GHSA, participating countries including the United States and international organizations have developed a voluntary, flexible, sustainable external assessment process to measure country capacity to achieve a strong laboratory system, infectious disease workforce, rapid disease detection and reporting, a national biosafety and biosecurity system, and other elements that are central to rapidly addressing infectious disease threats. The assessment relies on quantitative and qualitative data, including country self-reporting as well as the external assessment and is meant to be shared in order to provide a better understanding of global needs and a better targeting of global resources to fill gaps. The United States is also providing technical assistance to countries in using this tool to develop a baseline, and will continue to provide experts to participate in external assessments of other countries’ efforts.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 45. Promote Data Sharing About Global Preparedness for Epidemic Threats

Commitment Text:

Promote Data Sharing About Global Preparedness for Epidemic Threats

The United States will undergo and publicly release an external assessment of capability across public and animal health systems to prevent, detect, and respond to epidemic threats, utilizing the 11 targets of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). Through the GHSA, participating countries including the United States and international organizations have developed a voluntary, flexible, sustainable external assessment process to measure country capacity to achieve a strong laboratory system, infectious disease workforce, rapid disease detection and reporting, a national biosafety and biosecurity system, and other elements that are central to rapidly addressing infectious disease threats. The assessment relies on quantitative and qualitative data, including country self-reporting as well as the external assessment and is meant to be shared in order to provide a better understanding of global needs and a better targeting of global resources to fill gaps. The United States is also providing technical assistance to countries in using this tool to develop a baseline, and will continue to provide experts to participate in external assessments of other countries’ efforts.

Responsible Institutions: Center for Disease Control (CDC) within Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of State, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Supporting Institutions: Federal agencies involved in the threat assessment capability study.

Start Date: Not Specified End Date: Not Specified

Commitment Aim

Following a recent series of unprecedented epidemic crises, such as the 2014–2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa[1] and the Zika virus outbreak,[2] this commitment aimed for the United States to carry out a Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) assessment[3] to evaluate its capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to epidemic threats, and subsequently release a public report summarizing its findings. The United States also committed to provide technical and implementation assistance to other countries conducting GHSA assessments on an ongoing basis.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

The United States carried out its GHSA assessment from 23-27 May 2016 in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) and a global team of experts, with the US government affirming its intention to assist other countries in carrying out GHSA assessments of epidemic threat preparedness in their own countries.[4] The report summarizing the findings of the US assessment remained outstanding at the midterm, resulting in substantial (as opposed to full) completion.

End of term: Complete

The GHSA and the WHO released a report summarizing the findings of the US GHSA assessment.[5] The report, which is titled Mission Report June 2016, was not publicly available as of that month, which is why it counts toward the commitment’s completion at the end of term.

With respect to key findings, the report notes that the decentralization of the US public health system may pose challenges for coordinating threat preparedness activities across federal, state, and local levels of government, while nevertheless noting that “the US has extensive systems to reduce the risks and impacts of major public health emergencies.” The report also finds that the United States laboratory system could benefit from improved geographic coverage, with a particular emphasis on surveillance for antimicrobial resistance, food contamination, and dangerous pathogens within the food production and importation system. Other key findings address safe laboratory handling of dangerous pathogens, recruitment and retention challenges for senior-level experts, and government preparedness for large-scale nuclear catastrophe.[6]

With respect to lending technical support to other countries, the United States remained a member of the GHSA’s Steering Committee as of 23 June 2017,[7] and actively participated in various external country assessments throughout the reporting period by contributing technical experts to the peer review process, including the assessments for Albania (carried out in September 2016), Bangladesh (May 2016), Namibia (November–December 2016), and Saudi Arabia (March 2017), among others.[8]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

The commitment marginally opened government with respect to access to information. While the publication of the US assessment revealed important information about the country’s preparedness for academic threats, the report is a one-off assessment with no follow-up activities, mitigating against a more significant opening of government. The same can be said of other countries’ assessments that were carried out with US support. Moreover, the US evaluation is an assessment of the US government, rather than a disclosure of information held by the US government.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing, the US government had not published its fourth national action plan, so it is unclear if this commitment will be carried forward. The United States should nevertheless continue to support GHSA assessments in other countries on an ongoing basis, and make efforts to implement the recommendations from its own assessment in order to better prepare the United States for potential epidemic threats. If this theme is included in a future OGP commitment, it is important that the commitment be more closely linked to the values of open government, such as by disclosing data on epidemics and health preparedness, or by including members of the public in the implementation of the GHSA recommendations.


[1] US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “2014-2016 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa.” https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/index.html. Consulted 3 July 2017.

[2] See US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Zika Virus.” https://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html. Consulted 3 July 2017.

[3] Global Health Security Agenda. “Assessments.” https://www.ghsagenda.org/assessments. Consulted 9 October 2017.

[4] Open Government Partnership. “United States of America Midterm Self-Assessment Report for the Open Government Partnership: Third Open Government National Action Plan, 2015–2017.” pp.45-46. September 2016. https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/USA_NAP3_self-assessment-report_20160916.pdf. Consulted 2 October 2017.

The specific dates of the evaluation can be found in the corresponding evaluation report: World Health Organization Alliance for Country Assessment. “Joint External Evaluation of United States of America: Mission Report June 2016.” Available at https://www.ghsagenda.org/docs/default-source/jee-reports/united-states-jee-report.pdf. Consulted 3 July 2017.

[5] World Health Organization Alliance for Country Assessment. “Joint External Evaluation of United States of America: Mission Report June 2016.” Available at https://www.ghsagenda.org/docs/default-source/jee-reports/united-states-jee-report.pdf. Consulted 24 September 2017.

[6] Ibid. pp.2-4.

[7] Global Health Security Agenda. “Membership.” Last updated 23 June 2017. https://www.ghsagenda.org/members. Consulted 24 September 2017.

[8] For a full list of country assessments, see Global Health Security Agenda. “Assessments & JEE.” https://www.ghsagenda.org/assessments . Consulted 24 September 2017. Confirmation of US participation in each assessment mission can be found on the Acknowledgements page of the Mission Reports for each of the countries listed here; reports are accessible directly via the above link. For assessment mission dates, see the ”Executive Summary” page of each country report, with the exception of Saudi Arabia (see Annex I).


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