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U.S. and WHO Sign Agreement to Help Developing Countries Meet International Health Regulations
September 20, 2011

U.S. Department of  State
Office of the Spokesperson

September 19, 2011
Media note

U.S. Government and World Health Organization Sign Agreement to Help Developing Countries Strengthen Their Capabilities to Meet International Health Regulations.


Following is the text of a joint statement by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the United States and the World Health Organization (WHO).

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On September 19th, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, the Government of the United States of America and the WHO signed a MOU to help developing nations strengthen their capabilities to support the International Health Regulations (IHR).

The IHR (2005) is an international agreement that requires WHO Member States to prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide.

The U.S. Government and the WHO share a commitment to strengthen cooperation in the area of global health security to ensure that the international community effectively manages public health risks.  Improving the ability of all nations to detect, report, and respond to infectious diseases quickly and accurately lies at the heart of the global community’s ability to address all infectious disease threats, as reflected in the IHR.

The MOU establishes a framework for collaboration in line with the provisions set forth in the IHR, which provides a construct for coordinating the management of actions in the event of a public health emergency of international concern.

The MOU was signed by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Health and Human Services, and Director-General Margaret Chan, World Health Organization, and subsequently by Ambassador Betty E. King, United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.