World-first gathering showcased health security's past and future

27 June 2019
Spurred on by a desire to help the world better prepare for future major adverse health events, University of Sydney health security expert Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott recently spearheaded the world's first international Global Health Security meet-up.
Associate Professor Kamradt-Scott and Associate Professor Rebecca Katz from Georgetown University

Last week, more than 900 members of the global health security community gathered in Sydney to participate in the first international scientific conference on Global Health Security, organised by Associate Professor Kamradt-Scott and Associate Professor Rebecca Katz from Georgetown University (pictured above).

Participants came from more than 65 countries, representing academia, local, national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations, public and animal health and security professionals, and the private sector, all committed to advancing global health security. 

High-profile speakers included Australia’s Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt MP and representatives from the NSW Government, Peter Sands from the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, Assistant Director-General and Regional Directors from the World Health Organisation, leaders from several Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Médecins Sans Frontières, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many more.

As well as highlighting research, policies and best practices from around the globe, the conference also provided a platform to establish a health security ‘community of practice’.

At the conference, members of the global health security community endorsed a guiding set of principles to address global health security threats – from disease outbreaks to biological warfare.

The ‘Sydney Statement for Global Health Security’ describes the numerous challenges that pose significant risk to global health and involves seven primary principles to guide and inform addressing future threats.

“In the wake of the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, the international spread of Zika, the ongoing transmission of antimicrobial resistance, and the ever-present threat of another influenza pandemic, global health security has taken on a new level of importance,” Dr Kamradt-Scott said.

“Whether they begin in humans or animals, these infectious diseases and public health emergencies not only cause the loss of human life, but also cause massive social, economic and even political change.

“Achieving global health security requires collaboration across disciplines, industries and seniority, and Associate Professor Katz and I are thrilled that our conference was able to bring together members of the global health security community for the first time to measure progress, determine gaps, and identify new opportunities to enhance national, regional and global health security.”

The Global Health Security 2019 conference was sponsored by the University of Sydney.

Prior to the official start of the Conference, the University also hosted a two-day Military Health Security Summit, jointly sponsored by the US military and Australian Defence Force to discuss the role of militaries in global health.

The event involved 170 participants from around the Indo-Pacific region and was the first meeting of its kind.

Participants discussed a range of topics extending from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, research and development, and civil-military coordination.

Jennifer Peterson-Ward

Media and PR Adviser (Humanities)

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