HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, Canadian Minister of Health Tony Clement and Mexican Secretariat of Health José Ángel Córdoba Villalobos signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen coordination and cooperation among the three nations during public health emergencies.
Specifically, the countries have agreed to work together to improve their public health emergency preparedness and response efforts in areas such as border health, laboratory testing, diagnosis and treatment, epidemiological investigation, and the control of infectious diseases.
The countries also have a commitment to share laboratory information before and during an emergency, and to participate in various exercises to assess and strengthen public health emergency response plans.
A separate agreement signed by Leavitt and Clement promised to strengthen healthcare services for Native communities in the U.S. and Canada. HHS Indian Health Service, the principal federal healthcare provider and health advocate for American Indians and Alaskan Natives, will administer the memorandum's activities for the U.S. A similar agreement approved in 2002 ends this year. -- by Jennifer Lubell
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