WHO takes bird flu as top health danger

(Sep. 22, 2006) Avian influenza remains the No. 1 danger for global public health, said Richard Nesbit, World Health Organization's Acting Regional Director for the Western Pacific, on Friday.

He made the remarks at the conclusion of WHO's Western Pacific Region meeting held in Auckland, New Zealand.

The WHO (World Health Organization) 57th annual meeting calls on its member countries to step up their defenses against emerging diseases, including bird flu, and to devote more resources to counter the growing threat from noncommunicable diseases.

Earlier this week, Nesbit urged member country delegates to do more to prepare for an outbreak of bird flu, saying no nation would be immune.

He said WHO lacked about half of the funds needed to help countries prepare for and fight bird flu.

WHO spokesman Peter Cordingley said many countries did not have the money or resources to implement full emergency plans.

The five-day meeting on Sept. 18-22 also endorsed a regional strategy designed to stem the exodus of health care workers from poorer countries in the region to more affluent nations.

Other issues examined included universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and control of tuberculosis, and program updates on measles elimination, hepatitis B control and polio eradication, as well as tobacco control, mental health and environmental health.

The 58th session of the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific will take place in South Korea, in 2007. (from chinaview.cn)


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