THE UNITED States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has opened a country office in Manila, bolstering its health sector cooperation with the Philippines as part of a broader aim to help increase health security within Asia.
“The COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic is a poignant reminder of why strong international partnerships are so critical for our global health security,” US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs Loyce Pace said in a statement released Tuesday by the US Embassy.
“With the opening of the US CDC Philippines country office, we are further reinforcing the long-standing HHS partnership between our two countries and our work together to build a healthier world,” he said.
CDC’s Manila office will work with the Philippine Department of Health on prevention and control of both communicable and non-communicable diseases, and strengthening public health emergency preparedness and response.
The CDC, the US public health agency and lead implementer of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, will also provide the Philippines with technical assistance and support services “to intensify the country’s HIV and tuberculosis prevention, treatment, and care efforts, and to slow the twin epidemics,” according to the embassy.
In the last four years, the Philippines experienced the fastest-growing HIV epidemic in the Southeast Asia/Pacific region, with a sevenfold increase in newly diagnosed cases from 2010 to 2018, it said.
Data from the Philippine Health department show 79,082 people have been diagnosed with HIV from 1984 to July 2020, majority of whom were in the 25-34 age group.
“As this (coronavirus) pandemic has shown us, nations working together in partnership and with transparency to prevent, detect, and respond to health threats is more important today than ever,” US Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava said. — MSJ