News

    US Urges Transparency, Quick Reporting, On Avian Flu

    Representatives from more than 80 countries and international organizations convened in Washington Thursday for a two-day conference aimed at generating a world-wide political consensus to fight avian flu. Bush administration officials said transparency and quick reporting of outbreaks are the keys to preventing, or at least minimizing the effects, of a possible flu pandemic.

    Efforts to head off a widespread avian flu outbreak among humans are already being conducted by the World Health Organization, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and other specialized agencies.

    The conference here convened by the Bush administration is intended to elevate the issue on the global political agenda, and assure an effective response to a potential pandemic.

    President Bush announced what's being called the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza at the United Nations world summit last month.

    The first plenary meeting of the partnership opened late Thursday at the U.S. Academy of Sciences with welcoming addresses by senior administration officials including Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt.

    Mr. Leavitt said even if the avian flu virus -- designated by scientists as H-Five-N-One - does not produce a pandemic among humans, there will inevitably be another, and the cooperation being established among countries now will not go to waste:

    "Let us remember our objective is not simply to defeat H-Five-N-One. It is to be prepared for whatever comes. Because at some point we will most certainly have to use our preparation," he said.

    The meeting has drawn officials from countries around the world including Southeast Asian nations where avian flu, though largely limited to poultry and wild-bird populations, has already caused an estimated ten billion dollars in economic losses.

    Senior U.S. officials who briefed reporters said the goal of the meetings here is to coordinate efforts among affected countries and donor nations, to increase the transparency and timeliness of disease reporting, and develop a collective capacity to identify and respond to a pandemic.

    Kent Hill, Assistant Administrator for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S.A.I.D., said his agency has already designated the fight against avian flu its number-one priority.

    Mr. Hill said that while many scientists believe that a human pandemic, perhaps killing millions of people, if not a question of if, but when, governments must guard against despair, because he said, everything they do now can limit the consequences of an outbreak:

    "We must understand that everything we do, every ounce of our energy, every bids of our resources that we put into this, will have an output, and the output will be in saved lives. Even if there is a pandemic, what we do today, what we do in the next weeks or months, can impact how large the pandemic is and how grave the consequences are," he said.

    Mr. Hill said no country, no matter how poor it is, is deprived of the possibility of making the right decision, in terms of being transparent about the presence of avian flu and applying the necessary political will to deal with it.

    The conference moves to the State Department Friday for plenary meetings and workshops and another full-scale session is expected to be held in the coming weeks.

    Secretary Leavitt and the State Department's Undersecretary for International Affairs Paula Dobriansky, meanwhile, will visit affected Asian countries next week.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora