Ana Paula Blower and Pamela Lang (Fiocruz News Agency)
Fiocruz and the World Health Organization (WHO) signed this Monday (5/22) a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that establishes the bases of the international cooperation to be developed between the Foundation and the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence, headquartered in Berlin, Germany. One of the central points of the collaboration is the development of stronger surveillance data integration tools, taking advantage of Fiocruz's existing surveillance platforms and services. The document was signed during the World Health Assembly, in Geneva, Switzerland, by the president of Fiocruz, Mario Moreira, and the assistant general director of the WHO and head of the Hub, Chikwe Ihekweazu.
The document was signed during the World Health Assembly, in Geneva, by the president of Fiocruz, Mario Moreira, and the assistant general director of the WHO and head of the Hub, Chikwe Ihekweazu (photo: Pamela Lang)
“We are very pleased with the signing of this memorandum with the World Health Organization. Fiocruz, which helped in the formulation and institutional design of this Hub, now joins and is part of this collaborative and creative environment that aims to develop and strengthen tools for the surveillance of pathogens. The partnership with the Hub strengthens Fiocruz's position in the global effort to prepare for pandemics and is a recognition of our institutional, scientific and technological capacity in the field of surveillance”, highlights Mario Moreira.
The agreement, which lasts for five years, comprises the areas of teaching, research, technological development, communication, information, management and policies in the field of health. Throughout the work, Fiocruz will participate in the Hub's global projects and will be able to act in cooperation with Latin America and Africa, in addition to sharing its experience, taking projects and programs already in progress to the Hub.
“The COVID-19 pandemic showed that the world was insufficiently prepared in the face of growing epidemic risks”, said Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, WHO Assistant Director-General and head of the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence. “We need stronger collaboration between stakeholders, and we are excited to partner with Fiocruz, with its long and illustrious history of technical excellence and international engagement, toward a better prepared world.”
The MoU also includes areas of cooperation for the advancement of integral and genomic surveillance of pandemic interest and the study and projects for mitigation, adaptation and intersectoral cooperation in the field of climate change and health.
The collaboration also includes support for the International Pathogen Surveillance Network (IPSN), of which Fiocruz is also a member; training activities for the implementation of surveillance; and the development of a scientific exchange between Fiocruz and the Hub.
Negotiations began in March 2022
Fiocruz's participation in the WHO Hub began to be designed in March 2022, when Ihekweazu visited the Foundation and invited the institution to be a partner of the Hub, which, at the time, was being set up in the German capital. Four months later, in July 2022, the director of the Department of Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment at the WHO, Oliver Morgan, was at Fiocruz to discuss how this joint action would be. At the time, the idea was that the Foundation could share its experience with countries in the Americas and Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa.