The Indo-Pacific region’s health security system, or its ability to avoid and contain infectious disease threats with the potential to cause social and economic harms on a national, regional or global scale, has many weaknesses in both human and animal health. In the last 20 years approximately two-thirds of all new or re-occurring infectious diseases affecting people have originally come from animals. These types of diseases are called zoonoses.
During both animal and human disease outbreaks, field epidemiologists (‘disease detectives’) are needed to help identify the source, trace and predict the spread and plan the best response. But there are insufficient field epidemiologists in many developing countries including in the Indo-Pacific region. There is also a lack of trained experts to help these countries implement their animal health plans.
Australia works alongside and funds World Health Organization to exercise its mandate in coordinating the International Health Regulations, and views this as fundamental for global health security.
The World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) is a quick-disbursing financing mechanism that provides a surge of funds to enable a rapid and effective response to a large-scale infectious disease outbreak in the world’s poorest countries.