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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Washington: U.S. Foreign Policy Could Halt Today’s Major Killers, Prevent Tomorrow’s Outbreaks

United States action on global pandemics could save lives, address significant foreign policy interests and boost economic prosperity, according to a new analysis from leading researchers, including Dr. Kristie Ebi, an expert on global change and health at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

According to the analysis, “strategic investments in a coordinated global-pandemics initiative would likely have a return ratio of between $17 and $20 on every $1 spent.” Curbing pandemics might also address shared global challenges, such as gender and social inequalities, and support climate adaptation and mitigation.

Published Oct. 10 in the Journal of International Affairs, the analysis provides new evidence on the potential for a proactive U.S. foreign policy effort to halt current pandemics of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), tuberculosis (TB) and malaria; prevent new outbreaks from becoming pandemics; and address disease threats linked to climate change.

“Increasing emissions of carbon dioxide are projected to increase the numbers of people exposed to climate-sensitive health outcomes, increasing the potential for pandemics,” said Dr. Ebi, professor of global health and environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine. “Climate variability and change provide opportunities for the mosquitoes and ticks that can carry a wide range of infectious diseases to increase their geographic range, lengthen their seasonality and increase the intensity of transmission.”

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