Representatives of Public Health Institutes in 40 countries, including Brazil, signed an agreement Tuesday, January 31, for the creation of an international network for the exchange of information on, and the control of, contagious diseases.
The network will act as an early warning system and fast reaction task force when an epidemic begins in any part of the world.
Brazil’s most prestigious laboratory, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), will represent the country. Among the other countries in the network are the United States, China, England and Australia.
According to the president of Fiocruz, Paulo Buss, the network will permit professional training for public health personnel, sharing of diagnostic information and travel to affected areas by technicians.
Although the network was set up informally some four years ago, it will now take on a more official role.
That decision follows the SARS scare, the serious public health problems following the 2004 tsunami and the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, and the present danger of bird flu.
The network will receive financial assistance from the Bill Gates Foundation.