U.S., Mexico strengthen public health cooperation

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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Mexico Secretary of Health Salomón Chertorivski announced a series of new steps to strengthen health security cooperation between the two countries. 

The two health secretaries signed a declaration formally adopting a shared set of technical guidelines both countries will follow to respond to public health events and emergencies of mutual interest. The guidelines describe how the two nations will coordinate the exchange of information, and they complement the International Health Regulations, which call for neighboring countries to develop accords and work together on shared epidemiologic events and public health issues.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Mexico’s General Directorate of Epidemiology led the development of the guidelines, along with support from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Mexico’s Secretariat of Health, according to a press release from HHS.

Secretaries Sebelius and Chertorivksi also renewed an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico recommitting the two countries to communicate on food safety and identify areas for coordination and collaboration between several U.S. and Mexican agencies—HHS, through the FDA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture; and the Secretariat of Health, through the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) and the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food in Mexico through its National Service of Health, Food Safety and Agro Food Quality (SENASICA).

Finally, Secretary Sebelius welcomed the Mexican Secretariat of Health’s National Institute of Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference as a member of CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN). Mexico is the fourth country to join the LRN along with Canada, Australia and the U.K.