Message from Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative in China

2007-04-02 12:53 841

World Health Day: International Health Security - 7 April 2007

BEIJING, April 2 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- This year's World Health Day theme is an important reminder that many health threats do not respect national borders and that all countries are partners in the fight for international health security.

China has been actively responding to the growing interdependence of health and security.

Emerging communicable diseases such as SARS and avian influenza have brought home the very real threats to international security that health problems can pose. Other threats to international health security include infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, bioterrorism, humanitarian emergencies, environmental damage and food safety.

For China and the rest of the world, SARS was a wake-up call. In recent years China has made genuine progress in strengthening its capacity to deal with health security threats.

China has been building its communicable diseases capacity and is continuing to develop effective systems for communicable disease prevention, detection and response. China has been advancing the fight against avian influenza by sharing viruses and information with the international community. It has also made great progress responding to communicable threats like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

But health security challenges remain for all countries.

China's sizeable population and agriculture-based industries mean that infectious diseases remain a significant national and international threat. Some 75 per cent of emerging diseases are zoonotic. One of the key measures for managing communicable diseases is improving animal husbandry practices and implementing local and national systems for surveillance and rapid response.

WHO will continue to support China in fighting health security threats. WHO as an organization, including its Headquarters in Geneva, the Regional Headquarters for the West Pacific in Manila, and the China Country office, is working closely to provide China with timely policy advice and technical expertise.

China has shown enormous commitment to strengthening international health security. We are sure it will continue to do so in the future. In that way, China will greatly advance global public health.

Source: World Health Organization China