Binational Border Health Program
"Bugs know no borders..."
In response to cross-border needs, the Cochise County Health Department maintains the “Bi-National Border Health Program”—the only program of its kind at a local health department in Arizona. In fact, “bugs know no borders” has become the Health Department’s informal slogan for its bi-national healthcare activities. Given the porosity of the border, the Cochise County Health Department realized the importance of collaboration and partnership with cross-border healthcare colleagues. Healthcare issues, especially surveillance and control of communicable diseases, do not recognize borders, because people, wildlife, and environmental contaminants flow back and forth. Infectious disease control and containment completely depend upon collaboration between Arizona and Mexico.
The program links the Cochise County Health Department and its counterparts at the Ministry of Health in Sonora and at Mexican clinics along the border and works at a practical “on the ground” level to provide solutions to issues that may arise between these health systems. A good example of this is the continuity of care that is provided for tuberculosis patients that cross the border to access healthcare in both countries.
In 1992, the Northeast Sonora/Cochise County Bi-National Health Council was established to serve as a forum where healthcare professionals and community members from both sides of the border could address mutual health concerns. The council’s purpose is to establish, cultivate, and promote interest and mutual assistance among different disciplines and groups for the United States-Mexico border community. The council promotes mutual cooperation on local, regional, or international health problems and facilitates local education and training of healthcare professionals and community members.
Topics of mutual interest and collaboration include environmental health, emergency services, maternal and child health (particularly the maintenance of vaccination schedules for children), communicable disease treatment and surveillance, mental substance abuse, and chronic disease (particularly diabetes).
Formally structured programs and cross-border organizations combined with interpersonal professional relationships and deep mutual respect provide the basis upon which two different healthcare systems interface with one another along 82 miles of border. Not only is this collaboration a public health necessity, it is also a symbiotic and mutually enriching partnership.
For more information, contact the Bi-National Border Health Coordinator via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 520-432-9400.
In Recognition Of Our Accomplishements
- Border Health Worker Recognized by the Border Region - Congratulations to Susan Peru, Binational Border Health Program Coordinator! Click here for the article. Go to Page 10. (Binational Border Health Commission Newsletter)
- Program featured in the NACCHO Exchange-Vol 8, Issue 2 spring 2009 "International Public Health" article written by Susie Peru & Vaira Harik titled "Cross-Border Public Health Collaboration in Cochise County, Arizona".
- Program featured in the National Rural health Association December 2010 Compendium of Rural Best Practices/Models: Communities along the border, including practices in clinical settings. This compendium is posted on the NRHA's web site at: ruralhealthweb.org and click resources.
Teen Maze – The Cochise County Health Department Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and the Binational Border Health Program Coordinator partner with various community organizations to host a Teen Health Fair called “The Teen Maze”. We usually host 3 a year, two in the early Spring and a Binational one in the fall. The focus is to promote healthy lifestyles by providing teens with the knowledge to make informed decisions. During the day, students have the opportunity to receive educational information from partnering professional organizations. The information offered includes the following topics: Gangs, Self Image, Substance Abuse, Pregnancy, Gun Safety, The law, Anti-tobacco, Substance Abuse, Career Tracks, Sexually transmitted diseases, Suicide\depression, Domestic Violence/Date Rape/Healthy Relationships, Emergency Situations/Highway Safety, Cyber Dangers.
Students participate in a life-size interactive maze which promotes healthy choices by placing participants in hypothetical situations that cause them to address the multiple consequences associated with issues such as sexual activity, substance use, behavioral health issues, breaking the law, and finding a career with all the above issues happening.
Due to the serious and explicit content of the mazes, students are required to have a signed permission slip to gain admittance. Birth control is discussed (although we promote abstinence among teens) and condoms are given out to youth, if school permits, and only upon request.
The Teen Maze© is copywrighted by the Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies Organization and the Cochise County Health Department has been granted permission to carry out these Teen Mazes.
Teen Maze Pictures - (click on pictures to view)
Border Bi-National Health Week – The fair promotes sustainable partnerships to address border health problems. Intended outcomes include increased community and inter-agency networking relationships, information sharing and educational opportunities, and awareness of national, state and local health initiatives and resources. Some pictures from our recent events are below. (click on pictures to view)
2010 Event Flyer
National Infant Immunization Week & Vaccination Week in the Americas (NIIW/VWA) - Celebrated from last week of April through the first part of May with the primary focus of promoting and improving immunizations throughout the nation as well as in the United States-Mexico border region. Immunization of children is among the most successful and cost-effective public health achievements that have led to the reduction and prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases. The celebration of NIIW/VWA is another opportunity to advance our efforts in childhood immunizations and overall community public health. A picture of our most recent clinic held in Bisbee is below. (click on picture to view)
2011 Event Flyer
Binational Obesity & Diabetes Conference - Address Obesity & Diabetes with health services personnel from both sides of the border and invite a presenter from Sonora to provide U.S. personnel with an insight on Sonora’s healthcare system and gain a better understanding on the norms followed by Sonora with an emphasis on immunizations.
The US-Mexico Border Health Commission (USMBHC), and in collaboration with the Outreach Offices (OROs) in Texas, Chihuahua, California, Arizona, and New Mexico provide funding usually in the beginning of April for the Co-Presidents of each Binational Health Council to attend a Binational Health Council Planning Workshop. The goal of these workshops are to enhance the organizational capacity of Binational Health Councils to successfully meet emerging binational public health challenges. The workshops provide an opportunity for the USMBHC and its US and Mexico Outreach Offices, the US Offices of Border Health (OBHs) and the Binational Health Council leadership to discuss how to better communicate, coordinate, and collaborate (the 3 Cs) in support of mutual border health priorities.Quarterly Binational Health Council Meetings - To create relationships, share public health information, and coordinate activities between health professionals on both sides of the US/Mexico border.
Mexican/Arizona Immunizations Myths & Facts Information Sheet - addresses the myths and facts surrounding vaccines and immunization schedules in Mexico, identifies which Mexican vaccinations are acceptable in Arizona, and provides succinct information about the norms and protocols that healthcare providers follow in Sonora and reviews the jurisdictional issues for Arizona clinicians and providers.Click here to view the Fact Sheet
Northeast Sonora - Cochise County, Arizona - Binational Health Council Proposition - addresses the need for information sharing and learning between the regions. Click here to view the Northeast Sonora/Cochise County, Arizona Binational Health Council Proposition
U.S. - Mexico Border Health Commission updates - click on icon below to view
AZDHS-Division of Public Health-Office of Border Health and U.S. - Mexico Border Health Commission Arizona Outreach Office
Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health-Rural Health Office
U.S. - Mexico Border Health Association
Secretary of Health of Sonora/Secretaria de Salud de Sonora