||Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00
Avian Influenza Pandemic Ministerial Meeting, Da Nang, Viet Nam, May 4-6
News Release Issued by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting on Avian and Influenza Pandemics
Ha Noi, Viet Nam, April 19, 2006 -- APEC Ministers will meet in Da Nang, Viet Nam, on May 4-6 to coordinate preparedness planning that will be put into effect should there be an outbreak of avian or other influenza pandemics.
The APEC Ministerial Meeting on Avian and Influenza Pandemics will establish an action plan that will help to avert the significant social and economic harm that would be caused by a pandemic.
Viet Nam's Minister for Agriculture and Rural development, Dr. Cao Duc Phat, said pandemics such as avian influenza have the potential to kill an unimaginable number of people and cause enormous economic damage.
"The H5N1 avian influenza virus is the greatest known emerging infectious disease threat that is currently facing the global community," Dr. Cao Duc Phat said as his department prepared to host ministers from around the region.
"To reduce the potential of this threat, APEC ministers will consider the range of options that are open to Member Economies in preparing for and dealing with a pandemic.
"Ministers will identify coordination mechanisms and action plans that will be put into play should an outbreak become a reality.
"The coordination that will be developed will link government departments around the region and involve a range of people in the private sector, intergovernmental organizations and community groups.
"A range of measures will also be discussed to help developing economies to raise their domestic capacity to deal wit threats."
The ministerial meeting will also involve regional experts in public health and disaster management with experience in past crises such as natural disasters and the SARS epidemic.
The action plan is expected to include protocols covering communications, logistics, business operation and government processes.
As the threat of a potential avian influenza outbreak has grown, APEC has undertaken a number of initiatives to strengthen regional pandemic preparedness. Ministers will incorporate recommendations from recent meetings held to discuss Avian Influenza issues in San Francisco, Brisbane and Beijing into their action plan.
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