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Crossing Oceans to Strengthen Global Partnerships

Summary: 
We must build and strengthen international health partnerships to better protect the health of the people we serve.

Last year, as the world watched the Ebola outbreak unfold, we were reminded of a truth that affects us all: Health threats know no borders. Global health challenges should be met with a global response, and that is why we must build and strengthen international health partnerships to better protect the health of the people we serve. Sometimes the best way to do that is to cross the oceans between us and come together.

Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Seoul and Beijing to engage with some of our global health partners, to advance common goals of the Global Health Security Agenda and discuss the ways we can better work together to protect our global citizens.

I want to share a few snapshots from my travels with you:

On Tuesday, I kicked off my visit to Seoul with a briefing from U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Mark Lippert (front right,) and key staff from the U.S. Embassy.
On Tuesday, I kicked off my visit to Seoul with a briefing from U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Mark Lippert (front right,) and key staff from the U.S. Embassy. I learned more about the important work they do each and every day to advance our shared health, economic, political and diplomatic priorities with our Korean colleagues.

On Tuesday, Dr. Collins and I had the opportunity to speak with students at Seoul National University
On Tuesday, Dr. Collins and I had the opportunity to speak with students at Seoul National University about our countries collaborations on global health and the importance of research, science and innovation as we work together to combat infectious disease threats, such as the recent MERS outbreak.

On Tuesday, I had a productive meeting with Chung Chin-youb, Minister of Health and Welfare for the Republic of Korea, and other global health partners.
On Tuesday, I had a productive meeting with Chung Chin-youb, Minister of Health and Welfare for the Republic of Korea, and other global health partners. The Republic of Korea announced a pledge of $100 million to support 13 countries in Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) implementation.

On day two of my visit, I met with our current Global Health Security Agenda Chair, Finland, and our Chair for 2016, Indonesia. Finland has shown great leadership in this role, calling this the year of action. Indonesia has been a leader as they prepare for this role and have outlined a work plan for 2016 that includes a focus on engaging with non-governmental organizations and financing mechanisms for continued GHSA implementation.

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to tour the Jogyesa Temple, the chief temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism which promotes embodiment of society where people live together and the Bodhisattva's spirit.

On Wednesday, I joined Chung Chin-youb, Minister of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea, Paula Lehtomaki, State Secretary, Finland, and Nila Moeloek, Minister of Health, Indonesia, for a press conference following the Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Meeting. It was terrific to hear Minister Chung talk about Korea’s strong commitments to GHSA.

HHS’s headquarters is in Washington, D.C., but our team is stationed around the world working to protect our global citizens. On Thursday, Ambassador to China Baucus and I had the opportunity to meet and thank the HHS health team of more than 70 staff in Beijing. They help lead our collaboration with China in infectious diseases research, food and drug safety, influenza programs, and other key areas.

On Thursday, HHS Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs Jimmy Kolker (left), U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus (far right) and I had the pleasure to meet with China’s Health Minister Li Bin. We focused our conversation on how to push forward important health deliverables ahead of President Xi’s visit to Washington in a couple of weeks.

On Thursday, I had a productive visit to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention where I 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.

At the end of my trip, I toured the Forbidden City in Beijing. It was an amazing walk through history.

Crossing oceans to strengthen global health partnerships → http://1.usa.gov/1gv3SFh via @SecBurwell

 

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Global Health
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