President Obama’s Malaria Coordinator, Rear Admiral (USN, retired) Timothy Ziemer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Influenza Coordination Unit Director, Rear Admiral Stephen Redd, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Lawrence Gumbiner, are leading the U.S. delegation to the Lower Mekong Initiative Infectious Diseases Conference taking place in Hanoi, Vietnam, from June 17–18. 

The two-day conference is co-hosted by the U.S. and the Vietnamese governments. Senior government officials from Lower Mekong Initiative partner countries—namely, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam—along with U.S. government officials and international health experts, are meeting to focus on an integrated regional approach to infectious disease. 

Admiral Ziemer opened the conference with a discussion of the multiple levels on which the U.S. government is engaged to build stronger health response networks in the Lower Mekong region. Over the next two days participants will examine a range of topics primarily focused on international health regulations, counterfeit and substandard medicines, and regional successes in collaborative health research.  Using a mix of presentations by experts and government officials, discussions, and interactive panels, the gathering is expected to yield increased opportunities for communication and partnerships in the area of response to infectious disease threats.

This conference is a component of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Lower Mekong Initiative.  On July 23, 2009, Secretary Clinton and the Foreign Ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam met in Phuket, Thailand, to explore ways to expand cooperation between the United States and the Lower Mekong countries in the areas of environment, health, education, and infrastructure.  Supporting multilateral cooperation in the area of infectious diseases further develops cross-border institutional linkages necessary to effectively meet the region’s goals for sustainable economic development. 

The U.S. delegation also includes field representatives from the Department of State, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

For further information on the Lower Mekong Initiative Infectious Diseases Conference, visit

Source: U.S. Department of State

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