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From Bellagio to Bangkok and beyond!

This past December, the Rockefeller Foundation hosted a gathering of 23 leading experts and representatives of networks on infectious disease surveillance from around the world. Acting in their personal capacities at this meeting in Bellagio, Italy, the group agreed on a Call To Action to advance global capacity for public health surveillance.

Terry Taylor, Director of the Global Health and Security Initiative (one of the Predict and Prevent initiative's initial grantees), announced the Call to Action at the Prince Mahidol Award Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Over 300 players in global public health—including WHO officials, diplomats, donors, and Ministers of Health—were at the conference (with Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn!).

The group committed themselves to address coordination and resource concerns for infectious disease surveillance by:

  • Strengthening national capacity and regional networks through electronic means and joint public-private projects.
  • Connecting regional networks into a global cooperative activity.
  • Encouraging collaboration of the human, animal and agricultural sectors for a holistic approach to infectious disease surveillance.
  • Promoting the development of national capacities and regional networks.
Such commitments will help countries meet their obligations under the World Health Organization’s new International Health Regulations, which came into place last June and require committed countries to improve public health security by strengthening disease surveillance and response systems. Since it is international law, enforcement of the IHR will depend upon the political will of each country.

From Bellagio to Bangkok and beyond, we’ve heard the call to action and are excited to get involved. Others ready to respond with additional expertise, resources and commitment are invited to email to join the effort.

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