MANILA, Philippines — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) opened this month a new country office in the Philippines to advance increased health security in Asia, the US Embassy in Manila said.
Through its new office in Manila, the CDC will strengthen and expand its existing cooperation with the Department of Health to prevent and control diseases, and strengthen public health emergency preparedness and response. The CDC is the public health agency of the United States.
“With the opening of the US CDC Philippines country office, we are further reinforcing the long-standing health and human services partnership between our two countries and our work together to build a healthier world,” said Loyce Pace, assistance secretary for global affairs of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Dr. Romel Lacson will serve as the CDC’s first country director for the Philippines. He will implement CDC-supported health programs and lead the agency’s peer-to-peer relationship with the DOH.
“In this new era, partnership is more essential than ever. We must be willing to take on challenges together and create opportunities together. This is why the launch of this office and our work together is so important,” Lacson said.
The CDC will also provide the DOH 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. 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.
The DOH and the HHS also signed a memorandum of understanding on increasing collaboration between the Philippines and the US on public health emergency and response, prevention and control of vaccine-preventable and communicable disease, and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.
The DOH is pushing for the creation of the country’s own CDC, which will be tasked to develop and maintain an integrated surveillance system of diseases, injuries, and disabilities.