MANILA — The Philippines' health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire visited the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) on Wednesday, as her country prepares the establishment of its own Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
The creation of the country's own version of the CDC is one of the priorities of the Marcos, Jr. administration.
The Department of Health, in a statement, said the health official's visit was done in preparation for the establishment of the Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The need for a CDC, a public-health agency, was underscored at the height of the pandemic. It aims to prepare the country for the next contagion.
"The learnings we have gained and shared in this exercise will form part in the development of the CDC in our country," Vergeire said of her visit to KDCA, according to the DOH statement.
"With this, we look forward to continue collaborating with our international partners and different countries in ensuring that we are prepared and ready for future pandemics and outbreaks."
She was joined by other health officials and discussed with KDCA "possible areas of collaboration and support," the DOH said.
It added that officials from the KDCA highlighted their best practices and experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Korea was commended globally for its stellar response to its coronavirus outbreak.
But it later struggled as the pandemic dragged on and new variants emerged.
"It has been an invaluable opportunity to build strong relationships between the Philippines Department of Health and Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency," Vergeire said.
"This short visit is an opportune time for us in the Philippines to learn responsive and strategic interventions, especially now that the establishment of our very own Center for Disease Prevention and Control is underway."
The Philippines on Tuesday reported 801 new COVID-19 infections, while 18,250 are currently battling the disease, DOH data showed.
Recently, it announced the detection of 14 cases of the ultra-infectious and immune-evasive omicron BQ.1.