Australia commits $5 million to fight infectious diseases in ASEAN countries
The Australian Government will contribute up to $5 million to help reduce the economic, social and disease burden of emerging infections that threaten the East Asian region.
The Australian funding, to be provided through AusAID, will help ASEAN countries enhance regional preparedness for and capacity to cope with emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza.
Activities will include workshops on strengthening regional and national laboratories, reviews of internet based surveillance networks, training of response team trainers and development of a ministerial agreement on deploying multinational response teams.
A new program management team will be established within the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Expert Group on Communicable Diseases will provide strategic direction.
The ASEAN Plus Three Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme integrates surveillance, early recognition of outbreaks, diagnostic capability and timely response to emerging infectious diseases, and will respond to the regional priorities of ASEAN member countries.
The program is a joint initiative of AusAID; the ASEAN Secretariat; and ASEAN Plus Three member countries (including People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea). It will also involve the World Heath Organization and animal health stakeholders.
ASEAN Plus Three health ministers endorsed the concept at their meeting in June 2006, recognising the importance of scaling up individual and collective responses to tackle health emergency challenges in the region.
Funding for this program will be provided as part of Australia’s $100 million commitment over four years to combat the threat of pandemics and other emerging infectious diseases within the region, announced by the Prime Minister in November 2005.