Resolutions

WPR/RC56.R4

Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases

         The Regional Committee,

         Recalling United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/59/27 on enhancing capacity-building in global public health, which urged Member States to further integrate public health into their national economic and social development strategies;

         Recalling resolutions WHA48.13 on new, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, WHA54.14 on global health security: epidemic alert and response, WHA58.3 on the revision of the International Health Regulations, and WHA58.5 on pandemic influenza preparedness and response;

         Recalling also resolution WPR/RC55.R5 on outbreak response and the revision of the International Health Regulations, which requested the Regional Director to develop a biregional strategy for strengthening capacity for communicable disease surveillance and response;

         Having reviewed the draft Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases; 1

         Reaffirming the importance of developing and implementing a biregional strategy to achieve common goals and provide a strategic framework for strengthening national and regional capacity for communicable disease surveillance and response, including emerging infectious diseases;

         Recognizing that emerging diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza pose serious threats to human health and economic and social stability in the South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions of WHO and that both SARS and avian influenza were transmitted across the borders between the two regions;

         Aware that most countries and areas in the Region currently continue to experience rapid social, economic and environmental changes, and that globalization has increased the cross-border movement of people and goods and that, due to these rapid and unprecedented changes, the risk of cross-border transmission of emerging diseases is higher than ever before in the two regions;

         Acknowledging the need to strengthen the local and national capacity of each country and area to detect, verify, report and respond to significant public health events, including those caused by emerging diseases, in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005);

         Recognizing that the importance of the timely and transparent sharing of information on public health emergencies of international concern is crucial to prevent and limit the risk of the international spread of diseases;

         Recognizing also the need to further strengthen intercountry, interregional and global collaboration in emerging diseases,

  1. ENDORSES the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases,2 taking into account the views of Member States, as noted in the summary record;
  2. URGES Member States:
    (1) to use the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases as a strategic framework to guide national capacity-building programmes for emerging diseases, and as an important stepping stone towards the effective implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005);
    (2) to provide adequate human, material and financial resources to strengthen local and national capacities for the prevention and early detection, rapid response, and preparedness for emerging diseases and other public health emergencies;
    (3) to further strengthen and contribute to intercountry, interregional and multisectoral collaborative programmes on emerging diseases by actively participating in regional and subregional networks and establishing effective collaboration mechanisms;
    (4) to share information, including epidemiological data, and to notify WHO and the international community immediately and transparently of all events that may constitute a public health emergency of international concern;
    (5) to share specimens in a timely manner with WHO reference laboratories in order to verify any potential public health emergency of international concern;
    (6) to conduct comprehensive assessments of existing national structures and resources and to develop and implement national plans of action for emerging and re-emerging diseases and other public health emergencies;
    (7) to further strengthen and maintain national capacity for surveillance and response so that each country can detect, verify, report and respond to emerging diseases and other public health emergencies of national and international concern as required under the International Health Regulations (2005);
    (8) to develop multisectoral and multidisciplinary approaches and to foster closer cooperation between Ministries of Health and Ministries of Agriculture to reduce the risk of emerging diseases including zoonotic diseases;
    (9) to strengthen laboratory capacity in order that laboratory support for surveillance and rapid verification of public health emergencies including emerging diseases can be provided;
    (10) to develop and share national public health emergency preparedness plans, particularly influenza pandemic preparedness plans;
  3. REQUESTS the Regional Director:
    (1) to use the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases as a strategic framework to guide the support from WHO to Member States in the Region to strengthen national surveillance and response capacities for emerging diseases;
    (2) to develop a regional workplan to further implement the Strategy, building on needs and priorities identified by capacity assessments;
    (3) to share the Strategy with partner agencies and to coordinate and harmonize partner support and regional collaboration in strengthening national and regional capacity to deal with emerging diseases;
    (4) to strengthen intercountry, regional and subregional collaboration in emerging diseases;
    (5) to provide technical guidance and mobilize resources to support Member States to strengthen their capacities at local and national levels for prevention, early detection, rapid response, and preparedness for emerging diseases and other public health emergencies of national and international concern;
    (6) to strengthen WHO’s capacity at the regional level and at the country and area level and to mobilize resources to support national capacity to implement the International Health Regulations (2005);
    (7) to support Member States to improve national public health emergency preparedness, including influenza pandemic preparedness, and to strengthen regional preparedness for public health emergencies;
    (8) to work with Member States and relevant international organizations and partners to facilitate the air transport of specimens;
    (9) to develop tools for monitoring and evaluating implementation of the strategy and to report back to the fifty seventh session of the Regional Committee on the implementation status.

1 Annex 1 of document WPR/RC56/7.

2Ibid.

22 September 2005


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