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United States, Canada and Mexico strengthen information sharing in health emergencies

May 20, 2014

OTTAWA, May 20, 2014 /CNW/ – The United States, Canada and Mexico have
adopted a set of principles and guidelines on how the three countries’
governments will share in advance public information and communications
products during health emergencies of mutual interest. U.S. Health and
Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Canada’s Minister of Health
Rona Ambrose and Mexico’s Secretary of Health Mercedes Juan signed a
Declaration of Intent, formally adopting the principles and guidelines,
at a trilateral meeting today during the 67th World Health Assembly in
Geneva, Switzerland.

“The United States, Canada and Mexico have had a long and close
relationship in supporting and improving our collective ability to
respond to public health events and emergencies of mutual interest when
they arise,” Secretary Sebelius said. “This declaration reinforces our
joint efforts to strengthen our national capabilities to communicate
effectively with our respective populations.”

“Infectious diseases are not limited by countries’ borders, and neither
are the ways through which we receive the news,” said Minister
Ambrose. “This Declaration will help our countries work together on
the essential task of communicating more effectively on public health
issues, which will protect the health of all of our citizens.”

“The collaboration between the three North American countries has proved
to be an extraordinary contribution to strengthening the security of
health in the region,” said Secretary Juan. “The clear, transparent and
timely exchange of information has been, and will remain, a central
pillar of this cooperation, particularly for responding to public
health emergencies.”

The Declaration of Intent calls on the three countries to:

        --  Share public communications plans, statements and other
            communications products related to health emergencies with each
            other prior to their public release;
        --  Apprise other appropriate authorities, depending on the type of
            health emergency, within their respective governments when the
            declaration is invoked;
        --  Conduct an annual short communications exercise to improve
            joint coordination; and
        --  Hold recurrent meetings, as they may mutually determine, to
            review and propose amendments to the Declaration of Intent.

The formal Declaration of Intent not only supports the requirements of
the International Health Regulations, which calls for neighboring
countries to develop accords and work together on shared public health
issues, but also the underlying principles of the 2012 North American
Plan for Animal and Pandemic Influenza (NAPAPI). The NAPAPI builds upon
the experiences of the H1N1 influenza pandemic and outlines how the
three countries intend to strengthen and coordinate their emergency
response capacities, including public communications, in anticipation
of a pandemic virus originating in or spreading to the North American
continent.

The full Declaration of Intent is available at:

English version:

http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/05/wha-declaration-us-canada-mexico-en.pdf

Spanish version:

http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/05/wha-declaration-us-canada-mexico-es.pdf

French version:

http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/05/wha-declaration-us-canada-mexico-fr.pdf

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada


Source: PR Newswire



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