Geneva, Switzerland — In the 67th World Assembly of Health, in Geneva, Switzerland, the Mexican Minister of Health, Doctor Mercedes Juan, the Minister of Health and Human Services of the United States, Kathleen Sebelius, and the Canadian Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose signed the Declaration of Intention to Coordinate the Communication in Public Health Emergencies.
Through this Declaration, the three countries will adopt a set of principles and guidelines to follow in order to share public information as well as communication input of common interest in case of health emergencies.
The Mexican Minister of Health, Mercedes Juan, pointed out that the cooperation among the three countries has turned out to be an extraordinary contribution to strengthen the health safety in the region.
She said that the clear, transparent and wise exchange of information has been and will continue to be a cornerstone of the cooperation among their countries, particularly, to face public health emergencies.
The Minister Kahtleen Sebelius mentioned that “America, Canada and Mexico have had a long and close relationship when it comes to support and improve the collective skill to respond to public health events and emergencies that concern the three parties”.
This Declaration, she said, confirms our efforts to strengthen our respective national capacities of risk communication, which is a core skill that every country that forms part of the International Health Regulations must have.
The Canadian Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, said that “infectious diseases are not limited by the frontiers of the countries, neither are the ways in which we receive the news.”
“This Declaration will help our countries to work together in the important task of having an efficient mechanism of communication regarding public health issues, which will protect all of our citizens’ health”, said Ambrose.
The Declaration of Intention to Coordinate the Communication in Public Health Emergencies will allow the three countries to:
- Share plans of public communication, declarations and other communication input related to health emergencies.
- Notify the authorities of the corresponding Government when the Declaration is applied.
- Carry out once a year an exercise of short communication in order to improve the joint coordination of the three countries.
- Have constant meetings, as determined mutually, to review and propose modifications to the Declaration.
The signature of this Declaration of Intention supports the requisites established by the International Health Regulations, which summons the neighbor countries to develop agreements and to work together to share public health topics. The Declaration also emphasizes the principles of the North American Plan for Animal an Pandemic Influenza in 2012 (NAPAPI).
NAPAPI considers the pandemic influenza H1N1 experience and summarizes how the three countries have the intention of strengthening and coordinating their capacities of response to face emergencies, including public communication, to anticipate a pandemic virus that develops or expands in the North American region.