Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Financial Awareness To Avian Flu Threats Still Key

Dr. Daniel Miller, John Lange and Kent Hill address journalists at avian flu workshop in New Delhi. Image Credit: Cheryl Pellerin/State Dept.

Financial Awareness To Avian Flu Threats Still Key

Over the last four years, cases of Avian flu infection have been reported from sixty countries. Through the processes of improved detection and containment these reported threats had been kept in check, but the risk of a global pandemic affecting humans remains a real potential catastrophe.

Of 335 humans infected since 2003, some 205 have died, in twelve nations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A ministerial conference that started today in India has assembled hundreds of health officials from over 100 nations representing health and mobilization groups to discuss effective strategies and structures to combat this continuing threat. Money and the management of cost effective options to counteract this pandemic threat are expected to dominate the main topics of discussion.

This excerpted from EARTHtimes.org -

Bird flu still a global threat, say experts

Posted : Tue, 04 Dec 2007 13:14:00 GMT - Author : IANS - Earthtimes.org

New Delhi, Dec 4 - Developing countries need to look at low-cost options to fight pandemics like avian influenza, India's Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said at the three-day International Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza in the capital Tuesday.

Addressing over 600 health professionals from 105 nations and 20 international and intergovernmental organizations, Ramadoss urged them to focus on empowering communities as the most powerful tool to combat epidemics.

The conference, which is from Dec 4-6, is the fifth in a row of similar conferences organized across the world to discuss issues of geographical spread of avian influenza - and the health challenges that come with it - and threaten the global community at large.

Jacques Diouf, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said that avian influenza could still cause a global pandemic and requires continued vigilance and control efforts, particularly in animals.

Diouf warned in his speech that the spread of avian influenza typifies the potential emergence of major health crises with an increased risk of pathogens traveling over large distances in very short time periods, favored by globalization and climate change.
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Most of the human deaths from the disease have been reported from Asia, the latest from China on Sunday.

'The World Bank has projected that for a reasonable level of preparedness for avian and human influenza, developing countries would need to spend at least $ 2.2 billion over two to three years period,' Ramadoss said at the inaugural session of the meet.

He said that the current gap for mobilizing resources for the country programs is $960 million, or over 40 percent of the identified needs. From earlier conferences, $649 million is available to help fill this gap.

'But these resources are in the form of loans, while grants would be a more appropriate form for financing this global public good.

'While this gap must be minimized, I would urge that we need to look at low cost options also,' Ramadoss said.

With avian influenza prevention and control programs being in place for almost four years, many countries have been able to contain or even eradicate the disease.
Reference Here>>

Grants may be called for in favor over loans at this conference, but it strikes us here, at MAXINE, that the loan path keeps all of the parties responsible to how the money is spent while health officials keep their eyes on the pandemic threat.

And this from the U. S Department of State -

The United States, which has contributed $434 million to its international effort against avian flu, hopes to mobilize more resources during the New Delhi ministerial.

“On Thursday [December 6],” Ambassador John Lange, head of the U.S. delegation, and special representative for avian and pandemic influenza at the State Department
said, “I will announce a new U.S. government pledge to this effort in terms of our international assistance.”

This would make the United States the major contributor to Avain Flu mobilization resources. Of the $649,000,000 of funds from previous conferences, the United States has already contributed $434,000,000 or over two-thirds of these available mobilization resource funds.

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