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World Health Report calls for cooperation, health security.

GLOBAL public health security now depends on international cooperation as well as the willingness of all countries to take action to tackle new and emerging infectious disease threats.

The August World Health Report, "A Safer Future," presents six key recommendations to secure the highest level of global public health security. The recommendations touched on improved cooperation within and between governments as well as more investment in global and national preparedness as new diseases emerge at an unprecedented rate.

"It is most unfortunate that with the advancement of science and technology in the 21st century, the global community is far away from being safer," Samir N. Banoob, MD, DM, DPH, PhD, chair of APHA's International Health Section, told The Nation's Health. "To the contrary, traditional threats still exist and new ones are emerging. Globalization in some situations is compounding the threats, and international cooperation is the only obvious solution."

World Health Organization officials said at least 39 new pathogens have been identified since 1967, including HIV, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Marburg fever and severe acute respiratory syndrome. Other concerns, such as pandemic influenza, malaria, dengue and tuberculosis, continue to pose a threat to health through a combination of mutation, rising resistance to antimicrobial medicines and weak health systems.

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Among the report's recommendations is a call for full implementation of the revised International Health Regulations by all countries. The regulations are based on the premise that no country can fully protect its residents in isolation or through traditional border controls. The set of rules governs how countries should assess and report public health emergencies.

The report also calls for global cooperation in surveillance and outbreak alert and response as well as open sharing of knowledge, technologies and materials, including viruses and other laboratory samples necessary to optimize secure global health.

The new report names pandemic flu as the most feared current threat to health security and sets out the WHO strategic action plan to respond to a pandemic.

The full 2007 World Health Report is available online at www.who.int/whr/2007/en.
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Title Annotation:The GLOBE: Public health news from around the world
Author:Arias, Donya C.
Publication:The Nation's Health
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2007
Words:343
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