U.S., China develop plan for better disease surveillance

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced agreement with Chinese Vice Premier and Health Minister Wu Yi to increase collaboration with China toward improved detection and management of infectious diseases. The agreement stems from President Bush’s pledge to Chinese President Hu Jintao to provide resources necessary to help stem the SARS epidemic in China. From U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
U.S., CHINA DEVELOP PLAN FOR IMPROVED DISEASE SURVEILLANCE

HHS Secretary Thompson Discusses Proposal with Chinese Vice Premier Wu

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced agreement with Chinese Vice Premier and Health Minister Wu Yi to increase collaboration with China toward improved detection and management of infectious diseases. The agreement stems from President Bush’s pledge to Chinese President Hu Jintao to provide resources necessary to help stem the SARS epidemic in China.

In a phone call, Vice Premier Wu and Secretary Thompson agreed to proceed with planning for expanded collaborative efforts in epidemiological training and development of greater laboratory capacity in China. The new efforts, which would expand the number of HHS personnel working in China, were spurred by the current SARS epidemic, but would be important for all other infectious diseases, especially newly emerging infectious diseases, Secretary Thompson said.

“The SARS epidemic has made clear that every serious infectious disease today is a potential issue of global importance,” he said. “We need a strong global network to quickly identify and manage disease outbreaks, and this network will depend on the strength of each nation’s epidemiological capacity, as well as on cooperation between nations. I am encouraged by Vice Premier Wu’s desire for new collaboration, and for her country’s increasing openness to the global health community.”

Secretary Thompson said his department will develop a plan with Chinese officials this month for increased technical assistance, including training, lab capacity and improved health information technology. In the call, he emphasized the importance of rapid sharing among nations of human and animal biomedical specimens needed to understand new disease outbreaks.

His call followed a conversation on April 27 in which President Bush told Chinese President Hu that the United States stood ready to provide short and long-term assistance to China in public health and control of infectious diseases.

Secretary Thompson also spoke by phone this morning with Hong Kong Health Secretary Yeoh Eng-kiong and offered congratulations on apparent progress against SARS in Hong Kong.


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