Biosecurity in the Global Age: Biological Weapons, Public Health, and the Rule of Law

By David P. Fidler; Lawrence O. Gostin | Go to book overview

5
THE NEW WORLD OF
PUBLIC HEALTH GOVERNANCE

I. INTRODUCTION

The analysis of the securitization of public health in Chapter 4 repeatedly returned to the need to strengthen the public health infrastructure. The effectiveness of the public health infrastructure has traditionally been the responsibility of public health governance. The securitization of public health has transformed the world of public health governance through the collision of the policy worlds of security and public health. As we did for the new world of biological weapons governance, we need to focus attention on the challenges public health governance faces with respect to the rise of biosecurity. This chapter undertakes this task.

The repeated policy emphasis on strengthening public health infrastructures to address the threats of both biological weapons and naturally occurring infectious diseases has made producing synergy between these two aspects of biosecurity a prominent issue. The synergy idea promotes adoption of policies that, to the maximum extent possible, advance simultaneously defense against biological weapons and naturally occurring infectious diseases. As discussed later, literature on biosecurity frequently features the “synergy thesis”—the argument that improvements in biodefense will also contribute to preventing, containing, or responding to naturally occurring epidemics or pandemics, and vice versa. Chyba (2002, 132) expressed the synergy thesis when he argued, “Fortunately, many of the steps that are needed to prepare for bioterrorism will also improve recognition of and responses to natural disease outbreaks. Spending on biological defenses therefore represents a

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