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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

International Health and Biodefense


photo of scientist pouring contents of vial into beakerThe Office of International Health Affairs (OES/IHB) Is the State Department’s general health office.

IHB works with agencies throughout the U.S. Government to facilitate policy making regarding environmental health, infectious diseases (e.g., SARS, Avian Influenza, Pandemic Influenza, Polio), health in post-conflict situations, surveillance and response, and health security.

The office works with many offices within the State Department and other U.S. Government agencies, including USAID, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Defense, Homeland Security, National Security Council,A World Health Organization ,WHO, official gives a dose of Polio Vaccine to Somali child in Mogadishu, Somalia. [AP Photo\Sept. 2006] Homeland Security Council, and intelligence agencies. We also work with the United Nations and international organizations, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and foreign governments.

IHB promotes effective strategies for global health by encouraging strong political leadership on health policy. The office works with other government agencies to represent the U.S. position on health matters in international fora and assists U.S. diplomatic posts in their health-related activities with foreign governments.


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