G8 ministers coordinate combat against bird flu
The first ever meeting of the Group of Eight (G8) health ministers agreed that early detection and control of H5N1 at source are the highest priorities for co-operation in the global fight against avian influenza.
The EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou participated in the first ever G8 meeting of health ministers in Moscow on 27-28 April 2006. The ministers of the Group of Eight, the leading industrialised nations, discussed ways to improve current global efforts to fight communicable diseases, pandemic preparedness and response. In their statement, the G8 health ministers prioritised the early detection and control of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza at its source.
Officials from the EU, World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank, and UNaids also took part in this meeting and Commissioner Kyprianou welcomed the growing recognition of the importance of international co-operation on communicable diseases. He proposed that the G8 members consult each other before taking any non-health measures in the event of a pandemic. The Russian health minister, Mikhail Zurabov, called for the creation of international rapid-response units to combat pandemics that arise in the wake of natural disasters. "We need to learn to raise mobile units that could be useful in such circumstances," he said.
The G8 Summit 2006 will take place in Saint Petersburg in July.