The Wednesday-Thursday forum is being held at the behest of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), which extended an invitation to participate to member nations of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The surprise of the first day of the meeting was the presence of US representatives at the forum, including Director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention for Central America, Nelson Arboleda.

"We're supporting the countries and the health ministries of the Americas to ensure that they have the necessary capabilities to be able to respond to a possible introduction of Ebola" into the region, Arboleda told reporters moments before the start of the meeting.

Arboleda's presence in Havana seems to corroborate the willingness of the US, which has been at odds with Cuba for more than five decades, to cooperate with Havana in fighting Ebola, after former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, Cuba's current president, both expressed that sentiment some days ago.

"We're ready to cooperate with all actors who are working in the region to ensure that we have an efficient response to the virus on the world level," said Arboleda when asked about the chances of bolstering this area of cooperation between Cuba and the US.

“In the Americas it's important to be prepared and have an appropriate and rapid response," Arboleda said.

Pan-American Health Organisation officials also are attending the meeting, which was inaugurated in the presence of Cuban Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, Cuban Health Minister Roberto Morales and Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca.

Cuba's contribution to battling the epidemic has been praised by international entities such as the UN and the World Health Organisation, as well as US media outlets.

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