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UPDATED: 08:30, March 29, 2007
Cambodia to join regional exercise against human influenza pandemic
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Cambodia will join an exercise designed to test the response of regional organizations against preliminary signs of human influenza pandemic from April 2 to 3, a statement said on Wednesday.

The exercise, known as PanStop 2007, will test the procedures necessary to dispatch the ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) stockpile of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and personnel protective equipment (PPE) from the storage site in Singapore to a country experiencing early warning signs of human influenza pandemic, said the joint statement by the Cambodian government and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The deployment of the stockpile is a strategy known as "rapid containment," which intends to stop or at least slow down human influenza pandemic before it has the opportunity to spread, said the statement.

Cambodia has been chosen as the country facing a mock outbreak and it will work closely with ASEAN and WHO to test risk assessment capabilities, communication procedures and decision making among all the partners, it said.

This will be a simulated exercise scenario and no drug or other materials will actually be moved, it added.

"PanStop is rare opportunity for Cambodia to rehearse the rapid containment strategy with international organizations," said Eng Huot, secretary of state at Ministry of Health of Cambodia.

The exercise also offers Cambodia a way to test its capabilities while gaining important experience that can only be achieved through practice, he added.

WHO's regional office in Manila, Philippines, will facilitate the two-day exercise, said the statement, adding that ASEAN, WHO and Japan will arrange the participants for it.

Source: Xinhua

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