[health-vn] NEW FLU UNCOVERS PUBLIC HEALTH’S SUCCESSES, CHALLENGES – BAN
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Wed May 20 07:07:42 EST 2009
Subject: NEW FLU UNCOVERS PUBLIC HEALTH’S SUCCESSES, CHALLENGES – BAN
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 14:01:58 -0400
From: UNNews <UNNews at un.org>
To: <news9 at secint00.un.org>
NEW FLU UNCOVERS PUBLIC HEALTH’S SUCCESSES, CHALLENGES – BAN
New York, May 19 2009 2:01PM
Global solidarity is crucial to containing the outbreak of influenza A(H1N1),
which has also revealed the successes and challenges public health faces,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
In addition to highlighting the interconnected nature of the world, the new
flu’s spread has allowed for a deeper understanding of the need for advance
planning for a pandemic, Mr. Ban told the
Assembly under way in Geneva. “We have never been better prepared to respond.”
Crucial in fighting the new flu is global solidarity, which he said “must be at
the heart of the world’s response to this crisis.”
This solidarity must be manifested in greater access to drugs and vaccines, the
sharing of virus samples and data, and the lifting of “self-defeating”
restrictions on travel, the Secretary-General said.
“It means that <"http://www.who.int/en/">WHO [World Health Organization] and
other vital bodies have the resources they need when they need them,” he added.
“It means that we all act in the interests of the poorest and most vulnerable
people in the world.”
Further, the outbreak has highlighted the importance of transparency and the
importance of investing in strong public health systems, which Mr. Ban
characterized as “the guardians of good health in normal times and the bedrock
of our response to the new outbreaks and emerging diseases.”
WHO reported today that 40 countries have officially reported nearly 10,000
cases of influenza A(H1N1), with nearly 80 deaths. WHO’s pandemic alert level
remains at Phase 5 – on a six-point warning scale – meaning that sustained
human-to-human transmission of the virus on a community level is restricted to
one of the agency’s geographic regions, in this case North America.
In today’s address, the Secretary-General also emphasized the importance of
ensuring continued investment in public health, even in the face of a recession.
Curbing funding on health at times of financial downturns is “not just morally
wrong, it is economically foolish,” he added.
In spite of the need for increased resources, he pointed out that “we also must
do more with what we have now,” calling for creative solutions to surmount
obstacles, including women’s health, an issue he said ties together with global
security, prosperity and progress.
Also today, Mr. Ban took part in a meeting, convened by WHO and attended by
representatives of some 20 pharmaceutical companies, to ensure that developing
countries will have access to vaccines.
At a high-level gathering on influenza A(H1N1) yesterday, WHO Director-General
Margaret Chan underscored the importance of obtaining reliable information on
the different aspects of the influenza A(H1N1) infection in order to make
informed decisions on how to manage the outbreak and prepare for a possible
“We are all under pressure to make urgent and far-reaching decisions in an
atmosphere of considerable scientific uncertainty,” she said.
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news
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