WASHINGTON (April 17, 2017) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today offered its backing for a special $300 million fund in the US Department of Health and Human Services to contain and eradicate future emerging infectious disease epidemics.
“When an outbreak of an infectious disease occurs, time is of the essence. We learned a tragic lesson 30 years ago, when the American and international public health infrastructure reacted slowly to what became the AIDS pandemic,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The risk of the rapid spread infectious disease is an unfortunate reality that we can’t afford to ignore. Whether they are Ebola, Zika, H1N1, MERS, Yellow Fever, HIV, TB or Malaria we have to have a well-funded rapid response strategy in place to react immediately.”
The US Congress is beginning to formulate the budget for the US government for its 2018 fiscal year. Proposals are now under consideration in the appropriations committees of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate in measures that fund the US government’s labor, health and human services agencies.
These funds would be used to immediately deploy medical personnel, equipment and medicine to the locations of outbreaks wherever they occur on the planet, much like what happened when the US government responded to the Ebola virus in West Africa in 2014.
“With the intensity of the globalization of our societies today, infections can spread at lightning speed through travel, food distribution and other means. We need a permanent emergency response infrastructure in place and ready to go for the next outbreak,” Weinstein continued.