Declaration sets global framework for AI readiness

23-04-2010 | |

Ministers and senior officials from more than 70 countries have agreed on the way forward in responding to avian influenza, preparing for pandemics and tackling newly emerging infectious diseases.

The Hanoi Declaration proposes a multi-sector array of national measures to keep a look out for new diseases that may cross from animals to humans and to deploy public health measures promptly against outbreaks. It calls for focused action at the interface between human, animal and environmental health systems, as well as continued efforts to reduce the extent of H5N1 and H1N1.

The Declaration recognizes the necessity for continuing and strengthening international and regional cooperation against diseases for which there may be no human immunity and which can cross borders in a matter of days. It emphasizes the need, for effective communication between professionals and public, community engagement and for strengthened public health and veterinary systems.

The Declaration crystallizes results of discussions between delegates in Hanoi at the 20-21 April International Ministerial Conference on Animal and Pandemic Influenza (IMCAP), hosted by the government of Vietnam, and co-organized with the US and the EU, in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the UN Children’s Fund.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the conference, the Vice Minister of Vietnam’s Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Bui Ba Bong, summarised the view of conference delegates; “We must continue to prevent and respond to bird flu (H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza), to tackle the ongoing H1N1 influenza pandemic and to prepare for other diseases that move from animals to humans. In Vietnam’s experience this calls for good human and animal health services, excellent communications, and whole of society responses.”

With an estimated 75% of new infectious diseases in humans coming from animals, and two new animal diseases capable of affecting humans expected to emerge each year, delegates identified the capacities needed by governments to cope with an ongoing state of uncertainty. There is a need for strong and predictable delivery systems for animal and human health, including emergency and contingency planning systems that reflect global standards and legal frameworks (e.g. the OIE veterinary standards, WHO International Health Regulations) as well as new standards developed for pandemic readiness.

To view the Hanoi Declaration, visit the IMCAPI website

Source: IMCAP press release

Natalie Berkhout Freelance journalist