The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Cuban government on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding to encourage cooperation between the two countries on health matters, another step in the Obama administration’s efforts to normalize America’s diplomatic relations toward its island neighbor.
The long-estranged countries will work together on global health issues, including infectious diseases like dengue fever, and the medical challenges that come with aging populations, the department announced.
“Cuba has made significant contributions to health and science, as evidenced by their contribution to the Ebola response in West Africa and becoming the first country to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a statement. “This new collaboration is a historic opportunity for two nations to build on each other’s knowledge and experience, and benefit biomedical research and public health at large.”
A Cuban delegation, led by the country’s health minister, is visiting Burwell this week.