Int’l Delegation To Promote Bird Flu Response

Concerned that Cambodia and other Southeast Asian nations are not able to respond effectively to possible future outbreaks of avian in­fluenza, a high-level international de­legation is scheduled to arrive in Phnom Penh today to promote an ef­fective response to the disease and to encourage planning for a pan­demic.

The delegation, which will be in Phnom Penh until Wednesday, is led by US Health Secretary Mike Lea­vitt, who is accompanied by World Health Organization Direc­tor-General Jong-Wook Lee and about a dozen other top health officials.

The delegation is to meet today with Minister of Health Nuth Sok­hom and on Wednesday the team will have an audience with King Norodom Sihamoni.

Officials said that one of the delegation’s key messages will be to stress the importance for Cam­bo­dia and other bird-flu affected na­tions to be transparent with their di­sease reporting and surveillance.

“Disturbingly, the observed re­sponses to recent cases of avi­an in­flu­enza in Southeast Asia have il­lus­trated that many affected countries are unprepared and exhibit wide­ly varying levels of preparation,” according to a statement from the US Em­bas­sy.



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