Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra today participated in Day Two of the G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting, hosted by the United Kingdom in Oxford, England. The meeting addressed G7 members’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic, future global health security preparedness, international collaboration on clinical trials, antimicrobial resistance, and digital health.
At the top of the day, leaders from Australia, India, South Africa, and South Korea joined the ministers virtually to discuss a One Health approach to global health surveillance. One Health explores the health of people, animals, plants, their shared environment, and their impact on emerging infectious diseases. Following presentations from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Secretary Becerra and fellow ministers reiterated that the One Health approach for disease surveillance is critical for pandemic preparedness. The Secretary emphasized the need to build surveillance capabilities around the world and support existing and new initiatives to prevent, detect, and respond to global disease outbreaks.
The second session of the day focused on antimicrobial resistance, which remains a priority for the U.S. and was declared by the World Health Organization as one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity. Secretary Becerra noted that the U.S. welcomes multi-stakeholder partnerships, especially with the private sector and foreign governments to research and develop novel antibiotic drugs. The Secretary stressed that investments in developing new antibiotics, as well as in infection prevention, control, and surveillance are critical to the global fight against infectious disease.
The third and final session of the day addressed issues related to digital health, including the importance of improving the interoperability of digital health systems among countries, and governance of the use of artificial intelligence in the health sector. Secretary Becerra shared the U.S.’s successful experience with expanding telemedicine during the pandemic and welcomed continued G7 collaboration in this area.
At the end of the day, Secretary Becerra joined fellow ministers in a tree-planting ceremony on the grounds of Oxford Botanic Garden to honor and pay respects to victims of COVID-19 and their families around the world.
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Author: HHS Press Office