The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) was launched on February 13, 2014.
Its mission was expressed as being to contribute to protecting the world from major infectious disease threats and to bring together nations from all over the globe in order to agree on new, concrete commitments in this direction, and to elevate global health security as a priority among national leaders.
On September 26, 2014 President Obama met with Ministers and senior officials from 44 nations and leading international organizations to make specific commitments to implement the GHSA and in particular to work toward a commitment to assist West Africa, where the threat posed by the Ebola virus urgently needed to be met with concerted action.
On this occasion, Italy was entrusted with the responsibility of guiding global vaccine strategies and developing specific vaccination campaigns for the next five years.
This will involve above all drawing up detailed plans for launching and then monitoring vaccination activities in various parts of the world, and in preparing and implementing awareness through educational and communications initiatives.
The Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin was present at the Summit, along with the President of the Italian Pharmacological Agency Sergio Pecorelli.
Ms. Lorenzin underlined the importance of vaccine awareness issues within Europe as well, given the hostile attitudes to vaccination which have recently been manifested in this continent.
"Vaccination – the Minister declared – is one of the priorities of Italy’s six month period of Presidency of the EU Council. Our country is at the center of the Mediterranean area, and the many recent international crises have led to a major increase in immigration fluxes. This makes it imperative that we reinforce our defenses against resurgent endemic diseases such as polio, tuberculosis, meningitis and measles. If we wish to avoid the risk of national health systems collapsing across the continent, we have to boost vaccination programmes aimed at everyone living in Europe."
The GHSA Steering Group is charged with tracking progress, identifying challenges and overseeing implementation of GHSA objectives in supporting the international standards set by the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Organization for Animal Health.
The Global Health Security Agenda’s activities and potentialities are extremely significant, especially in view of its ability to bring together nations from all over the world and press them towards collaborative action. Fortunately, awareness is growing along the lines expressed by the White House declaration: "All nations share a responsibility to provide health security for our planet and for accelerating action toward a world safe and secure from all infectious disease threats."