For Immediate Release
Contact: Meg Pierannunzi, 202-429-4736
    Allison Sturma, 202-429-4725

(Washington) – The United States Institute of Peace releases Pandemics and Peace: Public Health Cooperation in Zones of Conflict, a new study revealing lessons in infectious disease control and international health cooperation. Identifying infectious disease as a first-order problem affecting the security and welfare of the international system, author William J. Long explores the extent to which public health cooperation can lead to new and improved forms of transnational political cooperation in a host of important areas, such as counterterrorism, environmental challenges, resource management, human rights protection, and economic assistance.

Long focuses on three unexpected cases of cooperation to prevent such diseases as bird flu and swine flu among countries with historic or present antipathies and in resource-constrained environments: the Mekong Basin, Middle East, and East Africa. He demonstrates how interests, institutions, and ideas can align to allow interstate cooperation even in unfavorable environments. He provides analytical frameworks for practitioners grappling with transnational problems and generates working propositions on what makes new forms of public-private governance effective and legitimate.

U.S. policies in the area of infectious disease control are little known, and this book outlines the key players, policy initiatives, and their impacts. Long contends that the United States, a leader in both medical and information technology, is well situated to strengthen public health systems abroad and indirectly support regional health cooperation as a peaceful and positive dimension of its global health diplomacy and as a frontline defense of its own population from the threat of infectious diseases. As such, the United States has an unparalleled opportunity to address a critical national and transnational problem, deepen bilateral ties, foster regional and global cooperation and stability, and burnish America’s image globally.

Long calls for an expansion—both in actual resources and in interagency coordination—of U.S. global health policy in infectious disease control.

“At their current levels, U.S. support for foreign capacity in infectious disease control is shortchanging American interests. Given the seriousness of the threat posed by the spread of infectious disease and the vast potential for goodwill to be had from U.S. support for overseas surveillance and response capacity, this policy area requires greater U.S. commitment of funds and expertise.” said Long. “This study recommends a significant increase in the size of U.S. programs devoted to this challenge. This is a particularly daunting goal in light of an extremely difficult budget climate, but it is a critical step for U.S. security. In the context of overall U.S. global health expenditures, even an increased expenditure on foreign capacity for infectious disease control would be only a small fraction of America’s international public health budget but deliver significant security and diplomatic returns on the investment.”

 

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