Greater effort urged on Swine Flu

July 1, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 1 – The Rockefeller Foundation has said the world needs to be more prepared to deal with the Swine Flu pandemic.

The foundation’s president Dr Judith Rodin said nations must forge relationships that allow them to share information on such pandemics.

"As the Rockefeller Foundation is preparing to launch its newest $100 million health services initiative in Kenya, news reports are coming in about the first case of Swine flu diagnosed within the country. As this unexpected pandemic continues to spread throughout Kenya, Africa and the rest of the world – the one thing we know for sure is that, despite response efforts, we need to be more prepared."

She said new and advanced technology allowed communication with countries around the world as soon as there is word of disease or epidemic. 

"But, technology is not enough if the global relationships necessary to effectively use the technology don’t exist.  Presidents of countries may talk to each other once a disease has already spread, but if a doctor in a small town does not have a network that can help him or her recognise, diagnose and contain something unusual before it spreads beyond an initial patient, community or country then the whole world can be impacted," she said.
She added it was necessary to invest in disease surveillance efforts to effectively monitor, mobilise, treat and eventually prevent the continued spread of disease throughout the world.

"Disease surveillance networks are uniquely designed to work to quickly identify, verify and respond to pandemics or pandemic threats with experts on the ground.  These networks – the newest and perhaps most critical form of global diplomacy – are the key to early detection, which is the only way for the global community to stop the spread of these viruses in their infancy."
The Rockefeller Foundation has been invested in the development of successful disease surveillance networks in both Africa and Asia – creating systems that allow for the smooth and rapid transfer of information, assistance and treatments throughout regions.

"We all must now insist that our leaders engage in developing highly sophisticated surveillance networks that link both the developing world with the developed world through communication and transparency. No one country, whether it be the US or Kenya can stand alone when it comes to the fight against disease."


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