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By Sok Lak
The three-day international symposium on the “Surveillance and discovery of respiratory and other infectious diseases” held from 29 to 31 May in Phnom Penh.
This meeting aims to be a forum for Pasteur Institutes and their partners in the Asia Pacific Region to discuss major advances and gaps in the understanding of emerging infectious diseases. It will be an opportunity to outline a way forward implicating scientists, health authorities, universities, NGOs and training instances active at the regional level.
HE Mam Bunheng, Cambodian Ministry of Health, said that respiratory and other emerging infectious diseases are the cause’s death among children under-5years in developing countries.
30% to 40% of under-5 children went to health center to consult and 20% to 40% went to hospital to heal.
He added that respiratory and other emerging infectious diseases are yet do research in the whole Asia, so it needs to cooperate among private doctors, public doctors, and scientists to do research in those countries. “The cooperation is not only fight with the diseases, but also fight the effect of economy and society”
Incent Deubel, Director of Institute Pasteur du Cambodge, said that the recent emergence or the reactivation in Asia of some viruses causing severe respiratory infections fears about development of pandemic. Important economical consequences would add to the fear of the sanitary impact in the region. He added that “the inequality development of the techniques of diagnosis and of the system of surveillance between the countries in the region delays global measures of public health response to these new risks.
With Malaria and diarrheal diseases, Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) causes death among children under-5 years of age in developing countries. Southeast Asia is a region of emergence of threatening viruses like SARS-corona virus and avian flu virus H5N1 which have critical economical impact.
In addition there is a lack of information on the epidemiology of these emerging viruses.
There is a need to have an efficient surveillance network able to provide real-time early warning specific response measures to contain the spread of respiratory diseases.
To improve the detection, diagnosis, and handling of epidemic situations in the region, six Institutes Pasteur and partners have developed a network of laboratories in four countries: Institut Pasteur in Cambodia, Institut Pasteur in Ho Chi Minh City, Institut Pasteur in Nha Trang, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi, and National Center of Laboratory and Epidemiology in Laos.
Supported by the French Agency of Development (AFD) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)/ASPR, Asia-Pacific regional network of Institutes Pasteur and its partners have provided a unique platform on research, public health and training activities to conduct world-class surveillance and investigation on pandemic and epidemic pathogens at the national and regional levels. Faced with the emergence of the pandemic H1N1 virus in 2009, all partners were requested by local health authorities to participate in monitoring the infection in the general population.
In Cambodia, Institute Pasteur has collaborated since 2005 with the Ministry of Health, WHO and US agencies to design the surveillance protocol for respiratory infections with a special focus on H5N1 and seasonal flu. A global approach has considered the role of the animal reservoir for the spread of H5N1 in the environment and human contamination.
Since April 2007, hospital-based research and surveillance of SARI started in provincial in Takeo and Kampong Cham to describe the etiology of hospitalized patients to allow timely detection of unusual symptoms and mortality cases by respiratory pathogens.
The network has facilitated cross-border response, enhancing the regional capacity of surveillance. It has contributed to a sustainable local capacity (training of clinicians, microbiologists, and epidemiologists), to the establishment of well equipped laboratories, and to the strengthening of the cooperation at regional level.
Source: The Southeast Asia Weekly, June 5-11, 2011, Vol. 5, Issue 23, Page 9