The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today opened its new South America regional office in Brasilia, Brazil. The new regional office strengthens CDC’s ability to meet its mission of protecting Americans by responding more rapidly to health threats wherever they occur and building key relationships to tackle shared health priorities.
“The United States is one of the strongest advocates of global health security in the world, in addition to being the single largest bilateral health donor, and these commitments have special importance within our own hemisphere,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II said at the opening event. “Creating the CDC South American Regional Office is vital to building a sustainable presence around the world, including in South America. We intend for this office to work with every single country in the region to improve health security, and we believe the regional model is the best way to maximize this engagement over the long term.”
South America faces public health threats stemming from emerging diseases, humanitarian crises, changing ecosystems, urbanization, and the resulting habitat loss, travel, and migration issues. The rapid spread of Zika across the Americas and to other countries and territories on the North and South American continents is a compelling example. CDC is uniquely suited to increase engagement and collaboration with South American leaders to better protect the US from health threats.
“CDC’s regional approach advances global health security and maintains a sustainable global presence,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD. “It allows CDC the flexibility to focus efforts and to deploy staff and other resources where they are most urgently needed – such as responding to outbreaks at their source, providing technical assistance, and advancing programmatic objectives that improve health.”
Juliette Morgan, MD, is the new CDC South America regional director. She will develop a global health security strategy for the region and coordinate global health security activities. In collaboration with CDC country offices, she will implement headquarter programs, and work with other relevant stakeholders.
Since diseases know no borders, CDC is establishing other regional offices around the world to advance U.S. global health security goals and build and maintain a sustainable global presence. CDC recently established regional offices in Eastern Europe/Central Asia (Georgia), the Middle East/North Africa (Oman), and Southeast Asia (Vietnam).