Philippines passes on AI medication

13-11-2006 | |

AI-free Philippines will donate soon-to-expire bird flu medications to countries where the potential for human cases is higher, such as Indonesia or Cambodia.

The Philippines Department of Health stated recently that it will share its supply of vaccines, some of which are expiring in November 2007.
“We’re donating Tamiflu medicines to either Indonesia or Cambodia because the medicines donated by Unilab two years ago are expiring in November 2007 and we want to maximise the use of these medicines,” Health Undersecretary Ethelyn Nieto told a press conference on Friday on Avian Influenza Pandemic Preparedness sponsored by the department and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Nieto added that if the Philippines needed Tamiflu in the future, the supply would be replenished.
“Thank God, the Philippines is still free from avian flu,” she said.
WHO representative Dr Jean Marc Olive presented a global update on the avian influenza. As of October 2006, 55 people have died in Indonesia from influenza A (H5N1), Olive said. In Vietnam there have been 42 deaths. Other countries where H5N1 cases have been confirmed are Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Thailand and Turkey.
Since the start of the outbreak, the Philippines has remained free from the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and does not have any reported case of avian influenza due to H5N1 both in birds and in humans.
However, Dr Luningning Villa of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control said the government remains vigilant, because the virus continues to pose a threat not only to humans but to economic security as well.