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Global events such as the SARS outbreak have taught us that countries must work together for the common good. Regardless of geographic location and political boundaries, concern for the health and well-being of our citizens binds Latin American, North American and Caribbean countries in a common purpose.
The causes of ill health do not respect borders. Non-communicable diseases continue to account for the majority of death and illness in the Americas, regardless of the country of residence. To some populations, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, vector borne malaria and dengue continue to spread with devastating results. Marginalised populations, especially indigenous people, women, children and the elderly continue to suffer the most from inequitable access to health services. Given the massive and frequent movement of people and goods between countries, it is crucial that Canada assist in dealing with health problems at their source.
Health Canada has a close working relationship with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). PAHO is utilized as an important pathway by the Department for health related work undertaken in the Americas. Health Canada has also entered into formal agreements (MOUs, LOIs, etc.) with the governments of Mexico and Cuba and with the Caribbean Epidemiological Centre (CAREC) located in Trinidad and Tobago.
As a signatory to the Declaration of the Third Summit of the Americas, Canada has committed to undertake activities that will address the health concerns of both Canadians and non-Canadians throughout the Americas. We view health as a fundamental investment which has both economic and political benefits. Healthy people are productive people who make important contributions to the economic well-being of their country. Collaboration between countries in the Americas region benefits us all through the creation of opportunities to share expertise, knowledge and information with the ultimate goal of addressing the health concerns affecting the region.