Saturday, June 17, 2006

M'sia To Play Bigger Role In Infectious Diseases Eradication

KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 (Bernama) -- Malaysia will play a bigger role in combating the spread of infectious diseases by sharing its know-how with other countries to curb the world's biggest cause of human deaths, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said.
"Since infectious diseases remain the world's leading cause of death, accounting for 33 per cent of all human deaths every year, countries should put bigger emphasis in sharing and learning from those countries with endemic diseases. This is the best route to fast-track its control and eradication.
"We are proud Malaysia is seen as a model country in combating infectious diseases. Our success comes from having a strong political will, structured strategic planning and a strong commitment from our medical professionals," he said.
Dr Latiff said this in his keynote address at the High Level Ministerial Meeting on Health Research for Control of Endemic Diseases in Accra, Ghana. The text of his speech was faxed to Bernama Saturday.
He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) had formally invited Malaysia to assist and present real life successes in combating and organising research on infectious diseases.
Apart from those who die, up to half of the world's population of some six billion people were now at risk from many endemic infectious diseases, he said.
"By applying existing technology and expertise, many infectious diseases can be controlled, eliminated and completely eradicated. This must be followed by commitment, financial obligation and sustained disease control measures that are well planned and cost-effective," he said.
Dr Latiff pointed out that in Malaysia, research and development into infectious diseases had recently been given an 800 per cent boost in funding allocation from US$7.92 million to US$68.46 million.
He said this makes up to 2.4 per cent of the overall Malaysian Ministry of Health development allocation under the current Ninth Malaysia Plan.
Malaysia had achieved remarkable improvement in the health status of its population since independence in 1957, with the maternal mortality rate reaching 0.3 per 1,000 live births and life expectancy of 70.6 and 76.4 years for males and females, respectively.
World's leading cause of death is infectious diseases, accounting for 33 per cent of all human deaths every year.
The High Level Ministerial Meeting on Health Research for Control of Endemic Diseases was convened to develop a framework for better partnership and utilisation of research to enhance the control of diseases in developing countries.
Malaysia was given the honour to lead a session on "Health Research for Development: Moving Forward Agenda" at the meet.
The conference was attended by 18 ministers from Disease Endemic Countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

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