A Medical Device Daily

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Public Health Service (USPH) and the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) of the Department of Defense will allow commissioned corps officers of the USPHS to participate in more health missions serving underprivileged areas throughout Central, South America and the Caribbean.

The MOU sets in place a framework for USPHS officers to participate in DoD Medical Readiness and Training Exercises (MEDRETEs) in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The MEDRETEs are professional healthcare staff training for military medical teams that visit rural, underprivileged areas in the hemisphere.

The program is seen as one of the premier U.S. health diplomacy efforts in the region, giving American military healthcare personnel the opportunity to have a positive impact on thousands of people while providing real-world training for U.S. troops.

Over the past two years, Department of Health and Human Services personnel have participated in Operation Continuing Promise, a series of ship-based missions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean aiming to foster goodwill while demonstrating U.S. commitment and support by delivering humanitarian assistance and medical care.

Operation Continuing Promise is a partnership of the U.S. military, health professionals from the USPH, and non-governmental organizations, such as Operation Smile and Project Hope, which together provide humanitarian, dental and medical assistance, among other services.

Assistant Secretary for Health Joxel Garcia, MD, a four-star admiral in the USPH, said the MOU formalizes the existing collaborative relationship between the USPHS and SOUTHCOM, which has evolved from Operation Continuing Promise. "It will strengthen the effects of our joint goodwill missions by bringing the gift of health and changing the lives of countless individuals," Garcia said.

Adm. James Stavridis, commander of U.S. Southern Command, said, "The talent and expertise that Commissioned Corps officers bring into these missions is immeasurable and will undoubtedly help us achieve new successes in our efforts to support interagency efforts to deliver the promise of a better tomorrow for hundreds of thousands of citizens across the Americas."

In FY08, the military and volunteer health professionals of Operation Continuing Promise brought U.S. care and humanitarian assistance to the people of El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Nicaragua, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Haiti.

Brazilian trade show set for June

The 16th international Hospitalar trade fair will take place from June 2-5 at the Expo Center Norte in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

An expected 1,200 exhibitors from more than 30 countries will showcase their latest technologies and products to an anticipated 78,000 visitors from 70 countries.

The organizer of the event is Hospitalar Fair & Congresses, with the support of Messe D sseldorf, the manager of MEDICA, the leading international medical trade fair worldwide.

Hospitalar is the largest medical trade fair in Latin America, and the 2009 version will feature a wide range of products and equipment for hospitals, clinics, laboratories, pharmacies and medical and dental offices.

A special feature will be the North American Pavilion for U.S. and Canadian exhibitors, organized by Messe D sseldorf North America (Chicago). At the pavilion, companies will be provided with a fully equipped, turnkey booth which Messe D sseldorf North America will custom design according to the exhibitor's specifications.

Messe D sseldorf noted that the medical products industry in Brazil has grown over the last few years and international products continue to be very important for the Brazilian and Latin American healthcare sector overall.

The exhibits at Hospitalar 2009 will be supported by the 14th Latin America Congress of Healthcare Services as well as an extensive ancillary program consisting of 60 congresses, conferences and workshops.

Four thematically related trade fairs will be held concurrently with Hospitalar: OdontoBrasil (dentistry), Diagnostica (clinical analysis and pathology), Hospfarma (hospital pharmacies and drugstores) and Reabilitacao (assistive products).