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Statements by Administration officials on WHO decision to declare H1n1 virus outbreak a pandemic

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Department of Homeland Secretary (DHS) Janet Napolitano released a joint statement on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to declare the H1n1 virus outbreak a pandemic. The statement provided a broad overview of the Administration’s previous and ongoing efforts to address the outbreak.

Secretary of HHS Sebelius addresses World Health Assembly

Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, addressed the Plenary Session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. In her comments, Secretary Sebelius dicussed the international response to the recent outbreak of the H1N1 virus. Secretary Sebelius also discussed President Obama’s new Global Health Initiative stating that “our world demands a new, integrated approach to public health – one that seeks to understand and target the many factors that that can threaten the lives and livelihoods of all our citizens.”

H.R. 2293 – To amend the Trade Act of 1974 to require a Public Health Advisory Committee on Trade to be included in the trade advisory committee system, to require public health organizations to be included on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, and for other purposes

The bill would create a Public Health Advisory Committee on Trade that would submit a report to the President, Congress, and the United States Trade Representative on all proposed trade agreements and “the extent to which the trade agreement promotes public health and promotes the goal of protecting the environment in the United States and in any other country affected by the agreement.” The bill also requires public health organizations be included on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Statement by Secretary of State Clinton on the H1N1 virus and the FY09 War Supplemental Request

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton summarized how the State Department is assisting and coordinating with other U.S. departments and agencies to address the H1N1 virus. Secretary Clinton testified that the State Department has established an influenza monitoring group, is “tracking how other governments are responding to the threat and what assistance we might offer,” and is in regular contact with the World Health Organization (WHO). Secretary Clinton also discussed food security and staffing needs in relation to the FY09 War Supplemental Request.

U.S. Officials declare swine flu a ‘public health emergency’ in the United States

Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department for Homeland Security held a press conference detailing the U.S. response to recent cases of swine influenza A (H1N1), or swine flu. Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano announced that HHS had declared a “public health emergency”. This designation enables the USG to mobilize treatment stockpiles and allocate additional resources for detection and tracking of the flu. The USG also announced that it is working closely with health officials from Mexico and Canada and with the World Health Organization to monitor the situation and the CDC has deployed staff domestically and internationally to provide guidance and technical support.