The Business Case for Global Health Security

Betty King, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and a member of the CDC Foundation’s board of directors, authored a blog in The Huffington Post. Her blog post emphasizes the threats that infectious diseases pose to U.S. businesses, their employees and the broader economy.

In the blog, Ambassador King references the recent reports of the first two patients in the United States to be diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. She stresses the importance of a stronger, more coordinated and better resourced network for global health security, advanced by the government and bolstered by business.

As a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador King brings important perspective to the business case for global health security:

“While saving lives is job number one, we cannot ignore the threats that infectious diseases pose to U.S. businesses, their employees and the broader economy. These threats have the potential to disrupt global operations through lost work time, school and worksite closures, travel restrictions, and the threat of evacuations...

"As global businesses continue to grow and expand to markets in regions that are vulnerable to infectious disease threats, global health security becomes an even more critical issue. Many emerging economies are ill prepared and remain most vulnerable. Despite improvements, there are still dangerous gaps in technology, training, surveillance and coordination that are essential fortifications against endemic disease.”

A health threat anywhere is a threat everywhere. Ambassador King makes the case well, saying, “U.S. government commitment and support for a global health security agenda is vital, but the support of the U.S. business community is crucial to its success.”


Charles Stokes is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.