U.S., Mexico Agree to Work Together on Public Health

Public health emergency preparedness and response are one of the priorities of a renewed agreement signed in McAllen, Texas, on March 4 by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and the Secretary of Health of the United Mexican States, Dr. José Ángel Córdova. Their Memorandum of Understanding continues a long history of collaboration in public health, although this document updated an MOU that began in 1996 and was revised in 2001.

"The United States enjoys a solid friendship with Mexico, and our two nations are stronger when we work together to improve the health of our citizens,' Leavitt said. "A commitment to the health and safety of our nations and to the spirit of cooperation provides opportunities for growth in science, cross-cultural training, health care delivery, and the protection of our people." The specific areas of coopreation include the health concerns of vulnerable groups, training, disease prevention, health promotion; and the detection, surveillance, and reporting of infectious and chronic diseases.

The two secretaries signed the MOU at the end of the plenary session of the annual meeting of the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission. The two secretaries chair the commission and were joined by the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Andy von Eschenbach; HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response W. Craig Vanderwagen, M.D.; Maki Esther Ortíz Domínguez, deputy secretary for Quality and Innovation in the Mexican Federal Secretariat of Health; the commissioner of the Mexican Federal Commission for Protection Against Sanitary Risks, Juan Antonio García Villa; and representatives from the 10 U.S. and Mexican border states. For more information on the MOU, visit www.globalhealth.gov/news/agreements/ia030408.html.

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