Today, Secretary Alex Azar began his meetings in São Paulo, Brazil. First, he visited the Municipal Infant Hospital “Menino Jesus” and met with hospital leadership. They discussed the shared challenges U.S. and Brazilian hospitals face in improving quality and implementing efficient service models to integrate principles of value-based care. At the hospital, Secretary Azar visited the outpatient ward as well as the newly opened transplantation ward, which is an example of their successful public-private partnership with the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital.
Next he visited the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital with the Brazilian Minister of Health Gilberto Occhi, other government officials, and hospital leadership. Here Secretary Azar learned about efforts they are making on quality metrics and how principles of value-based care might have a positive impact on controlling costs and improving outcomes at the hospital. He saw their state-of-the-art robotic training facilities and simulation training center, which is available to all the clinicians affiliated with Syrian-Lebanese, including those at their public hospital partners. He finished his tour with a conversation with members of the board of directors, who are descendants of the women who originally founded the hospital.
In the afternoon, Secretary Azar and Minister Occhi visited the Butantan Institute with Marco Antonio Zago, the São Paulo State Secretary of Health. They were hosted by Dimas Tadeu Covas, the Director of the Butantan Institute, and Rui Curi, the Deputy Director of the Butantan Institute. The Butantan Institute is a semi-autonomous, biomedical research and production facility and is the main producer of immunobiological products in Brazil. At the Institute, Secretary Azar saw the “milking” of a snake for anti-venom and the newly expanded influenza vaccination manufacturing facility. The Butantan Institute has longstanding collaborations with HHS’ National Institutes of Health (NIH) and HHS’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
While at the Butantan Institute, Secretary Azar and Minister Occhi discussed the U.S.-Brazil long-standing cooperation in health research including biotech and vaccine production. HHS’ collaborative work with Brazil has successfully resulted in a number of new treatments moving all the way to the manufacturing stage. At the Institute, Secretary Azar discussed the latest updates on the tetravalent dengue vaccine that was developed in collaboration with NIH. The candidate vaccine has completed Phase 1 and 2 trials in the United States, Brazil, Bangladesh, and Thailand. As a result of the technology transfer from NIH, the ongoing Phase 3 clinic trial in Brazil, and the completion of a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant, the Butantan Institute is now well positioned to produce the vaccine and make it available for large-scale immunization initiatives in Brazil.
Next, Secretary Azar visited the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). He participated in a meeting with senior leadership where he highlighted the extensive history of U.S. scientific cooperation with FAPESP and the larger Brazilian scientific community. Then he delivered a speech to an audience composed of members of São Paulo’s scientific and innovation community in which he discussed his priorities to spur the innovation economy in the United States, including leveraging research collaborations and utilizing public-private partnerships.
In the evening, Secretary Azar participated in a dinner and roundtable meeting with the American Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo. The meeting focused on private sector innovations in Brazil to spur value-based transformation in the health system.
Additional information regarding the Secretary’s meetings and schedule will be forthcoming in news releases and social media posts.
To view his remarks online, please visit: