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Global Health Security Group Meeting

Ministerial and Other Meetings

Health Ministers Launch Initiatives to Improve Health Security Globally
Mexico City, December 6, 2002

1. We, the Health Ministers/Secretaries/Commissioner, meeting in Mexico City for our Third Ministerial Meeting have taken a number of decisions on actions to improve health security globally.

2. We underlined the devastating consequences that a deliberate use of smallpox virus would have upon the world's populations, particularly in the developing world. We agreed on the following actions as instrumental to preparing and responding to such an incident, and mitigating its consequences.

3. We recognized that timely and effective collaboration among high level laboratories is essential for global preparedness and response to biological incidents. We launched a new international network of high level laboratories - the Global Health Security Laboratory Network - that is working to coordinate, standardize, and validate diagnostic capabilities, and contribute to global health surveillance and response to disease outbreaks.

Work of the network will focus on: enhancing health security, improving collaboration among high level laboratories, expanding linkages in order to strengthen the ability to rapidly and accurately diagnose diseases whether naturally or intentionally occurring, and strengthening overall global public health capacity.

The Global Health Security Laboratory Network will meet to validate smallpox diagnostic tests at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in Spring 2003.

4. Today, we also agreed on a number of other initiatives that will contribute further to strengthening health security globally:

5. We recognized that there are many commonalities in preparedness and response for bioterrorism and influenza pandemic. We agreed to establish a technical working group on influenza pandemic, which will be co-chaired by the US and the UK, to address existing gaps and research and development needs. This work should be carried out in conjunction with the WHO and other appropriate international organizations.

6. We reaffirmed our commitment to engage and share information with other countries and regional networks as necessary.

7. We welcomed the offer from the German Government to host our next Ministerial meeting in Berlin in the Fall of 2003.

The statement was endorsed by:

* The European Enter-net programme is an international programme for sharing information on gastrointestinal infections and on Salmonella and E. coli infections in particular.

Source: Health Canada

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