WHO to review world's handling of A(H1N1) pandemic

08:10, March 30, 2010      

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The World Health Organization (WHO) will start a review process next month on how well the world had responded to the A(H1N1) pandemic influenza and what lessons should be learned, the UN agency's top flu expert said on Monday.

"The bottomline for the process is to identify what lessons can be learned, to identify what the world needs to do ... to be better prepared and also to better respond to future pandemics and other future global public health events," Dr Keiji Fukuda told a news briefing in Geneva.

Fukuda said the review would be conducted by a Review Committee, which is actually an independent group of experts drawn from around the world and known to represent a large variety of expertise. The first review meeting will be held on April 12-14, and the full process will continue for months.

Besides an in-depth assessment on the world's preparedness and response to the current A(H1N1) pandemic, the experts will also review the functioning of the International Health Regulations (IHR), which is administered by the WHO to guide the world's handling of global public health emergencies.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan will report to the World Health Assembly in May about the preliminary results of the review, and a final report would be ready in 2011, Fukuda said.

He added that the review results would be important in guiding the WHO and all other entities involved in responding to global public health emergencies.

First detected in April 2009, the A(H1N1) influenza has so far caused infections in more than 213 countries and overseas territories or communities, killing at least 16,931 people, according to WHO figures released last week.

Currently the most active areas of pandemic influenza virus transmission are in parts of Southeast Asia, West Africa, and in the tropical zone of the Americas. Pandemic activities in other areas are largely low.

Source: Global Times/Agencies
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