China on Tuesday called on
the international community to strengthen cooperation in dealing
with avian influenza and other global health threats.
"Governments and peoples of all countries should be
more closely united, highly value international health security,
and jointly contribute to the defense against diseases," Chinese
Health Minister Gao Qiang told the ongoing 60th annual assembly of
the World Health Organization (WHO).
Addressing all 193 member states of the UN agency, Gao
said the epidemic of avian influenza is spreading and human
infected cases are increasing. Apart from pandemic influenza, human
beings are also faced with the threat of serious infectious
diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, Hepatitis, malaria, etc.
China hopes that
"governments of all countries and the international community can
join their efforts and make greater contributions to the control of
major diseases in the world," he said.
According to Gao, one crucial move for protecting
international health security is to implement the WHO's revised
International Health Regulations (IHR).
The regulations, which will come into force on June
15, are considered as the world's first legally binding agreement
in the fight against public health emergencies of international
concern such as those caused by new and re-emerging diseases with
potentials of becoming an epidemic.
"It is our wish that through the implementation of the
IHR and friendly cooperation among all countries, a working
mechanism will be established globally to effectively respond to
pandemic influenza," Gao said.
Gao also stressed the WHO's guiding role in global
public health affairs, saying such a role should be brought into
"We believe that WHO should play a bigger role in the
international public health fields, and governments of all
countries should be more supportive of WHO's work," he
Gao also called on WHO and developed countries to
strengthen support for the development of public health systems in
"Diseases respect no borders ... In order to safeguard
global health security, WHO and the developed countries should help
developing countries, especially African countries, to establish
and improve disease surveillance network and enhance disease
prevention and control capacity," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2007)