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Lancet forum on flu pandemic opens in Singapore
posted by admin on 05/05/06
The Lancet, a renowned British medical journal, opened its forum on flu pandemic here Wednesday, which is said to be the first of its kind in Asia.
Themed "Preparing for Pandemic Influenza: the Avian Dimension and other Emerging Threats," the two-day forum gathered some 500 scientists, public health experts, policy makers and nearly 300 international organizations from 52 countries and regions.
Participants are scheduled to discuss topics such as the evolution of bird flu viruses, the development of vaccines against flu pandemic and the World Health Organization's (WHO) pandemic preparedness planning, as well as to identify the gaps in pandemic preparation.
A total of 23 experts, including John Oxford from St. Bartholomew's and the Royal London hospital, Martin Meltzer from the United States' National Center for Infectious Diseases and Jai P. Narain from the WHO, are expected to deliver speeches at the forum.
Speaking at the opening of the forum, Singapore Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that a possible pandemic influenza may have severe impact on a country's healthcare system, economy and people 's lives.
He called for closer cooperation not only among the international scientific community but also among different sectors within a nation in the campaign against an influenza pandemic.
"It is... critical that we develop a system that engages every member of the international community, encourages transparency and openness, and at the same time, takes care of the rights of the affected countries and others," the minister added.
The forum is co-organized by Reed Exhibitions and Elsevier Health Sciences, an American publisher of health science books and journals.
Since the re-emergence of the H5N1 avian flu virus in Asia in 2003, the WHO has reported a total of 205 confirmed human cases worldwide as of April 27 this year, of which 113 people have died.
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