By Kelly A. Briganti, Editorial Director, G2 Intelligence
This month, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell visited the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention during a trip to Seoul and Bejing promoting protection of global health. HHS highlighted her visit to the Chinese CDC in a blog update Sept. 17, 2015 noting that she toured “an influenza laboratory that coordinates across South East Asia, improving our collective ability to detect and respond to outbreaks, including newly emerging disease strains.” The blog detailed Burwell’s trip which included a meeting with China’s Health Minister as well as discussions with the Republic of Korea’s Minister of Health and Welfare regarding Korea’s support for the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). Burwell also met with representatives of Finland and Indonesia, the current and 2016 chairs of the GHSA.
Burwell’s trip reciprocates a visit earlier this year to the NIH by a Chinese delegation including the Chinese Vice Premier, the Commissioner of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission and the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control who participated in an NIH symposium on Ebola and other global health matters. In her remarks at the June symposium, Burwell noted China’s collaboration with the US on a mobile laboratory in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak and joint US and Chinese efforts to combat the H7N9 outbreak, stating “We aim to collaboratively strengthen countries’ abilities to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to outbreaks of infectious disease.”
During that June visit, the US and China renewed a memorandum of understanding regarding emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and a commitment to collaborate on efforts regarding global health security.