KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The recent surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths throughout Latin America underscores what global health security experts at MRIGlobal have long contended - that there is a pressing need for continual investment in global health security preparedness.
Scientists and thought leaders at MRIGlobal are among the group of authors who examined the situation in an article just published in Global Security, Health, Science and Policy, a peer-reviewed journal focused on transnational threats to humankind.
In the article, Global health security threats and related risks in Latin America 1, Kenneth Yeh, MRIGlobal Senior Director, and Gene Olinger, Ph.D., MRIGlobal Principal Science Advisor, and co-authors state, "The impact of infectious disease epidemics in the Latin American region has multinational implications, including economic crises, political instability, food insecurities, increased migration 2, and interruptions in other public services like education, transport and public safety. The combination of inconsistent health care infrastructure, fragile economies, and complex political and economic landscapes has enabled the intense spread of COVID-19 to even the most remote areas of Latin America. While the coronavirus impact is dramatic today, several epidemics in recent years emphasize the need for improvements."
Political, economic and environmental factors all contribute to the need for strengthening infectious disease surveillance in Latin America.
In conclusion, the article suggests:
- Peace and conflict are often at the hands of security, economy, health and diplomacy.
- Both country-level infrastructure development and regional cooperation need to be organized to better prioritize these issues which global partnerships can positively contribute to both factors. Country leaders need to prioritize building cooperation across respective national interests.
- Private sectors and academic universities should be engaged to continue building health security capabilities and capacities.
- Biosecurity and infectious disease surveillance are key areas for investment and they are directly linked to health and economic security, which in turn leads to greater stability. The COVID-19 pandemic serves as a token reminder that the cost to prepare is less than the cost to respond.
"This article, which included co-authors: Brooke Borgert ( University of Florida), Falgunee Parekh (EpiPointe), and Jeanne Fair (Los Alamos National Laboratory),was unfunded and only made possible through this great collaboration of experts who advocate and share similar interests," stated Yeh.
MRIGlobal - Enhancing Global Health Security
MRIGlobal leads scientific thought in global health. Our expertise in research and development, product testing and evaluation, laboratory operations and training, biosafety and biosecurity, and international collaborative research all drive improvements in the areas of infectious disease and biological threats. Experts across our diverse research areas use science and technology, impacting the safety, security, sustainability, and health of the world.
1 Kenneth B. Yeh, Falgunee K. Parekh, Brooke Borgert, Gene G. Olinger & Jeanne M. Fair (2021) Global health security threats and related risks in Latin America, Global Security: Health, Science and Policy, 6:1, 18-25, DOI: 10.1080/23779497.2021.1917304
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