U.S. Vice President H.E. Ms. Kamala D. Harris today launched the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Southeast Asia Regional Office in Hanoi, Vietnam, and this office will also work with the supports for the operations and activities in 11 countries, including Cambodia.
Vice President Ms. Harris reinforced the U.S. commitment to regional health security cooperation and renewed previous calls to action on pandemic preparedness and response.
“Through this office, we will work closely with our regional partners to share strategies and strengthen each other’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, today and in the future. This achievement is the result of years of high-level cooperation between our governments. It also represents an important opportunity to come together to discuss our nations’ shared health security priorities,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.
“CDC has a long-standing presence in Southeast Asia. Our longstanding partnership with the countries of the ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] region has strengthened public health laboratories, emergency operations centers, surveillance systems – all tools that are being called upon during the current pandemic,” said CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky, MD. “This new Regional Office will build upon these existing partnerships and help us grow stronger together.”
According to a news release, CDC is uniquely suited to increase American engagement and collaboration with Southeast Asian leaders to enhance regional capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases and other emerging health threats. Priorities for the new regional office include building tomorrow’s public health workforce, expanding regional public health laboratory training, developing innovative programs to improve health for mobile and migrant populations, ensuring a coordinated response to public health emergencies through networked Emergency Operation Centers, and strengthening the early warning system for the detection of zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases.
John MacArthur, MD, is the Director of the new CDC Southeast Asia Regional Office, which supports operations and activities in 11 countries, including Cambodia. The CDC Cambodia office, part of U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh, is led by Dr. Rachel Albalak and has played an instrumental role in the public health sector since 2002, making important gains in fighting infectious diseases including malaria, HIV, and COVID-19.