MEDIA ADVISORY: Task Force for Global Health Experts at UN General Assembly

Photo header courtesy of UN Photo/Manuel Elías for UN News.

Task Force leaders, including representatives from the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination and the Partnership for International Vaccine Initiatives, will participate in meetings on pandemic preparedness, Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals 

Sept. 13, 2023, ATLANTA  – Task Force for Global Health experts will participate in the high-level week of the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York beginning September 18. With 40 years of experience working with more than 150 countries to strengthen health systems and end preventable diseases, The Task Force was deeply involved in global, national and local efforts during the pandemic and experts will share insights on ways to prepare for and respond to future disease outbreaks. 

This experience – which included supporting epidemiologists responding to outbreaks, informing vaccine safety protocols, helping 49 low- and middle-income countries roll out COVID vaccines, delivering essential supplies, and more – underpins Task Force convictions about what UN member states need to do to prepare for and respond to future pandemics. The Task Force joins the Pandemic Action Network’s call for action and accountability on Pandemic Prevention Preparedness and Response, with a focus on sustainable funding plans at the national, regional and global level. Likewise, The Task Force endorses calls for greater investments in health systems to strengthen the ability of health workers to prepare for and respond to future pandemics. 

Task Force experts and activities at the UN General Assembly include:

  • Task Force CEO Dr. Patrick O’Carroll whose four decades of public health experience includes global health, epidemiology and disease surveillance, disaster response and emergency management, public health information system development, bioterrorism, and epidemic control.
  • Dr. Joe Bresee, director of Respiratory Virus Prevention and Preparedness programs, whose team led the COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Program (CoVIP) to help low- and middle-income countries deploy and evaluate COVID vaccines with the ultimate aim of establishing sustainable systems for adult immunization programs. He can speak to: how CoVIP and 49 partner countries were able to increase the percentage of target groups vaccinated for COVID in low- and middle-income countries; how seasonal influenza programs were instrumental in COVID vaccine roll-out; issues of general vaccine roll out in low- and middle-income countries; and to the ongoing effort to increase surveillance capability in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Dr. John Ward, director of the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination (CGHE), which brings together global partners to achieve worldwide elimination of viral hepatitis. Dr. Ward notes “Hepatitis elimination is a critical component of both the Universal Health Coverage targets and the Pandemic Preparedness and Response plans. Our Coalition is glad to participate in these U.N. events to ensure that essential public health needs, such as hepatitis vaccination, testing and treatment, are included in these global conversations.” He can speak to the linkages between disease elimination efforts and pandemic preparedness and response.
  • September 22 event: CGHE will host two events to advance political will for hepatitis prevention, care and treatment (details and media registration here):
    • 8:00 am – 9:30 am EDT: Strengthening Political Commitment and Global Solidarity for Hepatitis Elimination: Hepatitis service integration via Universal Health Coverage.
    • 11:00 am – 12:30 pm EDT: Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of Hepatitis B virus: Achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • September 21 event: The Partnership for International Vaccine Initiatives (PIVI) will debut a video, “Keeping Our Edge,” at DEVEX @ UNGA 78, an event convened by Devex. The new video highlights the critical role that influenza vaccination programs play in overall readiness.

About The Task Force for Global Health

The Task Force for Global Health, founded nearly 40 years ago to advance health equity, works with partners in more than 150 countries to eliminate diseases, ensure access to vaccines and essential medicines, and strengthen health systems to protect populations. Expertise includes neglected tropical diseases and other infectious diseases; vaccine safety, distribution and access; and health systems strengthening, including supply chains for essential medicines, public health informatics for data to inform programs and policies, and training and support for epidemiologists and laboratorians to prevent and respond to outbreaks. COVID activities included helping more than 49 low- and middle-income countries roll out vaccines; informing vaccine safety guidelines; training epidemiologists in more than 100 countries on disease surveillance and response; distributing essential protection and treatment to hard-hit communities; advising on digital contact tracing; using existing health programs to ensure protection for vulnerable groups, such as those afflicted with other diseases; and leveraging existing supply chains for ongoing response. For more information, visit and our 2022 annual report, “Inside the Global Health Gallery.

Media Contact: 

Sumon Ray
Communications and Development Manager
Tel: 678-938-7637

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