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.