Hanoi hosts conference to combat flu pandemic

The Seventh International Ministers Conference on Animal and Pandemic Influenza’s – 2010 (IMCAPI) opened in Hanoi on April 20.

The two-day conference hosted by the Vietnamese government has attracted more than 300 delegates including ministers of agriculture, animal husbandry and health as well as the leaders of international and regional organisations.

On addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said that IMCAPI Hanoi 2010 was a continuation of the previous six conferences, where delegates shared their experiences in the fight against the A/H5N1 and A/H1N1 viruses.

It is urgent for this conference to find a way of combating the viruses between now and 2030, Nhan stressed.

On the occasion, Nhan thanked the international community for helping Vietnam to reduce the risk of pandemics, which would have caused considerable economic damage to the country.

The IMCAPI Hanoi 2010 will assess global progress in controlling the H5N1 virus, and propose new steps to reduce and potentially eradicate this serious threat over the coming years.

In addition, the conference is also tasked to review measures being undertaken to cope with the A/H1N1 virus and global preparations in the fight against it, as well as proposing ways to combat health threats from animals.

After discussions, ministers will issue a joint statement which will be the foundation for cooperation between countries and international organisations in the years to come.

Jean Marc Olivé, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Vietnam said in his report that the A/H5N1 virus appeared in Asia in 2003 and then spread widely to numerous countries.

So far, there have been 491 cases of A/H5N1 which caused 290 deaths across the world. However, the epidemic is waning with only three countries – Egypt , Vietnam and Indonesia reporting new cases of the virus./.