International collaboration is the key to fighting infectious diseases and protecting the lives and health of people, said a top health official from the United States.
"Epidemic diseases happen and the danger exists everywhere, so we must nurture a mutual cooperative way to deal with them," said Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Leavitt is currently in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province. He will visit Guangzhou No. 8 People's Hospital, which specializes in treating people with infectious diseases, and the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Protection.
Leavitt has also held discussions with local health officials on co-operation and collaboration.
"Exchange and cooperation on health matters between China and the United States should be started at the grassroots level. Both countries have much experiences and practices to share in this regard," Leavitt said.
Earlier, during his stay in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, Leavitt visited the Tangjia Village, where he had discussions with doctors and local leaders.
He said his visit provides him with firsthand knowledge of how China prevents and treats avian and pandemic flu, HIV and other emerging infectious diseases.
"This will help build a stronger relationship between Chinese and U.S. scientists and policy makers that will facilitate the dissemination of real-time information and the prompt sharing of epidemiological data and samples," Leavitt said.
He will arrive in Beijing Tuesday in preparation for this week's high-level Sino-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue, with the American team headed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
During his Beijing visit, Leavitt will hold discussions with his Chinese counterpart, Gao Qiang, on five general health areas that "both China and the U.S. want to pursue."
For example, both sides will have discussions on cooperation in rural public health care, according to Leavitt.
"We will have discussions on how we can provide help and care to people living in the rural areas that face possible risk of potential epidemic diseases," Leavitt said in an exclusive interview with China Daily yesterday.
In addition, health services to the aged, prevention and control of infectious diseases, cooperation in scientific research, and health care financing will also be on agenda during Leavitt's meeting with Gao.
According to Xinhua News Agency, Leavitt will further hold discussions with Chinese officials during the Sino-U.S. strategic Economic Dialogue on environmental issues, such as opening greater access to US-based companies to participate in environmental protection in China.
Source: China View