Message from the Chair
Greetings from Thailand!
With continued challenges and the layers of issues brought on by the pandemic, we are reminded once again of the important role that the GHSA has been working with countries in preparing to better prevent and manage infectious disease health threats.
Over the past several months, the GHSA members have remained active while simultaneously attending to domestic pandemic responses. There have been strong coordinated efforts across the GHSA Task Forces and Action Packages that intend to showcase the GHSA progress and strengthen collaboration. In addition, the newest Task Force, the TF on Research and Development, has begun its virtual meetings and the Sustainable Financing for Preparedness Action Package successfully held a GHSA-wide virtual Roundtable.
Across the GHSA membership, many countries have answered the call to submit Commitments to global health security along with Stories of Impact to promote these assurances and successes on the GHSA website. We are pleased that several members have also rose to the occasion and submitted Expression of Interest Forms on behalf of their countries and organizations to take leadership positions in GHSA mechanisms in 2022. These include leads for Action Packages, Rotating Steering Group Members, and for the position of the GHSA Steering Group Chair. Potentially new members have also expressed interest in joining the GHSA and we look forward to including more positive information to our GHSA community.
We hope you read further to learn more about GHSA Commitments and Stories of Impact, the next Steering Group and Leadership Meeting, featured profiles on GHSA Action Packages, the newest GHSA member, the newest Action Package, and updates from the Secretariat.
Early Announcement of the 3rd GHSA Steering Group Meeting of 2021 and the Leadership Meeting
The date of the third and final Steering Group Meeting of 2021 has been announced to be held from November 17-18, 2021. Based on the current pandemic and travel situations, Thailand plans to host this meeting in a virtual format. Thailand looks forward to continued discussions with the Steering Group.
According to the GHSA 2024 Framework, GHSA Ministerial Meetings are to be held in alternating years. Previously, the 6th GHSA Ministerial Meeting was held in November 2020, and the next Ministerial Meeting is being considered for 2022. Therefore, in 2021, there will not be a Ministerial Meeting.
However, Thailand as the current GHSA Chair will be hosting a Leadership Meeting to review progress, reaffirm the GHSA long-term vision, and to transition smoothly into the next year. This meeting will be organized on November 19, 2021, also in a virtual format. We look forward to welcoming the Steering Group to the meeting that will drive continued efforts of the GHSA.
GHSA Commitments and Stories of Impact
Progress toward the GHSA goals and targets would be difficult to achieve without any tangible, measurable and time-bound commitments made by the GHSA community. Commitments to achieving health security goals at the national level constitute the basis on which global health security is built and attained.
In addition, the GHSA commitments that have been realized could represent a success story on the impact that has been achieved by the GHSA member countries and organizations, which may serve to incentivize other countries and organizations to emulate and make progress toward their goals.
Every commitment made needs to be tracked for its progress toward the goal, and tracking the commitments helps ensure that the accountability toward the commitments can be fulfilled. For that reason, the commitment tracker has been placed as the centerpiece of the GHSA Commitments on the GHSA website.
Following the submission of the GHSA Commitments and Stories of Impact from the GHSA countries and organizations for the period of 2021, we are pleased to announce that the Commitments for 2021 have been posted on the GHSA website. Please click the following link for accessing the GHSA Commitments: https://ghsagenda.org/member-commitments/
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the following countries and organizations who have submitted their Commitments and Stories of Impact: 1) Argentina, 2) Bangladesh, 3) Cameroon, 4) Gambia, 5) GHSAC, 6) Ethiopia, 7) Indonesia, 8) Italy, 9) Kenya, 10) Malawi, 11) Nigeria, 12) Pakistan, 13) PSRT, 14) Spain, 15) Tanzania, 16) Thailand, 17) Togo, 18) Ukraine, 19) United Kingdom.
For countries and organizations that have not yet submitted their Commitments and Stories of Impacts, but are aiming for their submission, feel free to send them to the Secretariat once they are finalized.
AP Activities and Profile (AP and Thailand/ Indonesia)
Action Packages are the heart of GHSA. They reflect the multi-stakeholder collaborations at regional and global level to achieve specific GHSA objectives and targets. Despite the common challenges facing us in recent years, particularly those posed by COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in reprioritization and realignment of human and financial resources for combatting COVID-19, GHSA Action Packages leads have managed to keep their commitments to implementing their programs and activities with their respective members through regular virtual meetings. The meetings have enabled countries and organizations to keep abreast with the current developments in global health security, share lessons learned and best practices, as well as reinvigorate their commitments to GHSA goals and targets.
In the last June 2021 newsletter, we highlighted two Action Packages profiles (AMR, Biosafety and Biosecurity). And now, we proudly highlight the Surveillance, the Regional Public Health Laboratory Network or RPHL (within the Laboratory Systems AP) and Sustainable Financing Action Package profile.
Welcome ASEF to our GHSA community
The GHSA warmly welcomes Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) as the newest member of the GHSA. ASEF Public Health Network was launched in 2009 as “a platform to encourage public health dialogue among Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Partners to facilitate multi-sector knowledge sharing between health and non-health sectors including governments, international and non-profit organizations, businesses, academia, and the media.”
ASEF has indicated its commitments to joining AMR and Sustainable Financing Action Packages. We hope that by serving as the official member of the GHSA, ASEF will play a significant role in the GHSA activities and serve as a valuable driving force to enhance global health security.
Launch of Legal Preparedness Action Package (LPAP) –
let’s join the LPAP!
Whether we acknowledge it or not, legal and regulatory environment is a critical component in a public health setting. Law can hinder, facilitate, or strengthen a wide range of public health measures. During the national and global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been demonstrated that legal and regulatory structures could play a critical role in strengthening public health preparedness and emergency response. Legal Preparedness Action Package (LPAP) is a new Action Package in GHSA that will be officially launched in the near future, and we would welcome member countries and organizations to join this new Action Package.
LPAP is facilitating the sharing of best legal practices and lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and would aim to set a foundation for legal preparedness by developing technical tools to guide countries in building their legal preparedness capacity, in addition to advocating a higher awareness of legal preparedness globally.
Update from the Secretariat on GHSA website
There have been some important updates worth noting on the GHSA website, which include the following:
Following the submissions of the GHSA Commitments for 2021 and their review by the GHSA Steering Group, GHSA commitments of member countries and organizations for 2021 have been updated on the GHSA website and can be accessed through the following link: https://ghsagenda.org/member-commitments/Research and Development Task Force
Newly launched Research and Development Task Force profile, including purposes, activities, deliverables for 2021, potential timelines, have been updated on the GHSA website for easy access and understanding for the member countries and organizations as well as for the general public.
GHSA Stories of Impact
As per recommendations of the GHSA secretariat, Pakistan has been developing a separate webpage for the Stories of Impact and visualization similar to the Commitments tracker page.