an initiative of Vital Strategies

Make the world safer from epidemics with advocacy and action

The world is not ready for the next epidemic. Nearly 5 billion people are vulnerable to the next health threat because they live in countries that have not rigorously assessed their ability to find, stop, and prevent diseases. Those countries that have done an assessment have many gaps to fill.

Resolve to Save Lives is committed to making the world safer from epidemics. Our Prevent Epidemics team provides technical assistance to at-risk countries directly or through partners, mobilizes resources to support preparedness, and catalyzes political will to address gaps. By working across the spectrum, our small team accelerates progress to make the world safer from the next epidemic.

We created PreventEpidemics.org to track countries' preparedness for epidemics.

The world is still vulnerable

Disease outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics have adversely affected health for centuries. In 1918, an influenza pandemic infected a third of the world’s population, killing an estimated 50 million people. More recently, SARS, H1N1, Ebola and Zika affected thousands of people and cost countries billions of dollars.

It is estimated that a severe pandemic can destroy up to 1% of global GDP and have an annual cost of nearly $600 billion.

In the coming years, increased air travel and urbanization and climate change will lead to more people being exposed to infectious diseases. Conflict and insecurity are hampering disease prevention and control efforts and result in large amounts of displaced people vulnerable to disease. It is estimated that a severe pandemic can destroy up to 1% of global GDP and have an annual cost of nearly $600 billion.

For these reasons, efforts to strengthen preparedness increased in the 21st century. The International Health Regulations (2005) and Global Health Security Agenda were milestones in this progress. Since 2016, many countries around the world have engaged in voluntary, external assessments of their ability to find, stop and prevent disease. Through these assessments they identified thousands of critical gaps in preparedness, and the actions that should be taken to close them.

Despite all of this activity, the world is still vulnerable since a gap anywhere can lead to disease spread everywhere. Most countries that assessed their preparedness have large gaps that need to be filled. 5 billion people live in countries that have not conducted a voluntary assessment of their readiness.

Resolve to Save Lives is creating the momentum needed to strengthen preparedness and keep the world safe.

Dr. Frieden and healthcare workers working during an Ebola outbreak in 2014

Our approach

We are committed to helping countries become better prepared to find, stop and prevent epidemics by building local capacity, improving global polices and supporting robust systems to protect the world from the next epidemic.

Our team accelerates progress to make the world safer from the next epidemic by working locally and globally. We work with communities, governments, civil society and global partners directly or through our partners. Together, we build simple and scalable solutions that ensure every country has the capacity to prevent the next epidemic.

What we're doing

We focus on flexibility and speed as we work with countries to build solutions to local problems. We help countries identify and overcome bottle necks on their path to preparedness, whether they are technical, political or financial. This could mean helping a country develop and implement their National Action Plan for Health Security, providing a one-time catalytic grant to address a preparedness gap, leveraging global financing or identifying a legal framework to support preparedness and response.

Technical

We provide technical expertise to partners in health security, supporting planning and implementation with a focus on sharing best practice between countries and supporting local learning. Our efforts are targeted toward countries “Stepping Up” to making incremental and measurable progress in their ability to find, stop and prevent disease.

Political

A country needs sustained finance and ongoing political support to be prepared for the next outbreak. We work with grassroots organizations, media and governments to build political will for epidemic preparedness.

Financial

We provide catalytic grants to help countries "Step Up" and be prepared for the next epidemic. We work with global partners to increase the amount of funds available to support countries' preparedness efforts.

Resources

The Importance of Preparedness [English] The Importance of Preparedness [Français] New Opportunities for Funding Preparedness [English] New Opportunities for Funding Preparedness [Français]