Indonesia claims wide support for virus-sharing stance

first_imgMay 27, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesia’s health minister asserted yesterday that 112 other nations at a meeting in Geneva last week expressed support for her country’s position on avian influenza virus sharing, according to an Indonesian newspaper.At a press conference in Jakarta yesterday, Siti Fadilah Supari said support for Indonesia’s sample-sharing proposals came on May 21 at a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) health ministers meeting, which was held alongside the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual meeting in Geneva, the Jakarta Post reported today. The NAM, founded in 1955, is an organization of countries that consider themselves not aligned with or against any superpower. Supari said representatives of 112 countries at the NAM health ministers meeting supported Indonesia’s demands.”We received moral and political support from health ministers from England, Russia, Iran, and Australia,” Supari said, according to the Post report. The NAM Web site does not list England or Australia among its 118 member countries.In early 2007, Indonesia announced it had stopped sharing H5N1 influenza virus samples with the WHO out of concern that developing countries that share such samples will not have access to vaccines that drug companies in rich countries may produce from the samples. The country has shared only a few samples since then. It has pushed for new virus-sharing policies that it considers more transparent and fair to it and other developing nations.Supari continues talks with USDuring the WHO’s annual World Health Assembly, Supari urged world health officials to replace the WHO’s virus-sharing system, saying it favors developed nations, the Post reported. Also during the meeting, she met with US Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt to discuss possible solutions to the virus-sharing impasse, in a continuation of talks that had begun in April.Leavitt mentioned the latest talks at a May 19 press conference in Geneva. “Actually, not a great deal changed as a result of our meeting today,” he told reporters, according to a transcript published on the US State Department Web site.He emphasized that the United States wants to help forge needed improvements in the sample-sharing system. “What we aren’t willing, of course, to do is engage in any system that would involve compensation for virus samples,” he said. “This is a 60-year-old tradition. That’s one of the greatest public health successes in history.”A progress report on multilateral efforts to settle the sample-sharing issue, including ideas raised at the World Health Assembly, is expected in July, Leavitt said. A WHO working group dedicated to solving the problem, which has met several times, will meet again in November. “And we’re hopeful that by November of this year we’ll have a protocol under which that [virus sharing] can be done,” Leavitt said.In a recent book, Supari accused the United States of planning to make a biological weapon out of the H5N1 virus and charged that the United States and the WHO have conspired to profit from H5N1 vaccines.Genetic data to be shared Indonesia recently announced it would begin sharing H5N1 viral sequences with a new public database, the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), which was formed by a group of 70 scientists and health officials to promote greater sharing of H5N1 sequences.GISAID has said the public can freely access the database, which includes both human and animal H5N1 sequences, after they register and agree to share and credit the use of others’ data, analyze findings jointly, publish results collaboratively, and refrain from pressing intellectual property rights issues that relate to diagnostic, drug, and vaccine developments.Experts have praised the new development, but some have said that having actual H5N1 isolates is more useful because they are needed to make seed strains for vaccines and are critical for determining antigenicity, transmissibility, and pathogenicity.See also:Apr 17 CIDRAP News story “HHS secretary blogs on impasse with Indonesia”May 19 CIDRAP News story “Experts welcome Indonesia’s vow to share H5N1 data”last_img read more

Bing to DWSD: Reinstate original number of subsidy beneficiaries

first_img“We protest this belated and untimelyadjustment in the strongest terms,” Leonardia lamented, pointing  out that the original quota was “alreadyshort of our need” and thousands of families had already been made tobelieve that they can expect assistance from the nationalgovernment.   The mayor further said that it was “madeclear to us previously that the quota of 103,658 families excludes thosealready enjoying their social amelioration grants” such as PantawidPamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries, and those receiving similar grantsfrom the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Labor and Employment. According to Leonardia, the change in thequota means barangay captains “will now have to eliminate” 5,515families from their lists which were prepared on the basis of the originalquota. BACOLOD City – The local government unit hereis urging the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to“reinstate” the original number of beneficiaries in this city eligible for thesocial amelioration program. Mayor Evelio Leonardia said he was “shocked”after being informed by local social services head Pacita Tero that the quotaof 103,658 beneficiary-families in Bacolod that were supposed to receive thegrants had been slashed. He requested for an immediate writtenexplanation from DSWD 6 director Evelyn Macapobre on why the quota was cutwithout any warning, and after the barangay captains had already identified thefamilies concerned who are, by now, naturally expecting their share. The local social services office initiallyprovided a target number of beneficiaries, but it was later reduced to 98,143,according to Tero. “This is excruciatingly painful to thebarangay officials who will have to make this cut and, more so, to thosefamilies whose expectations will be crushed,” stressed Leonardia. Under Republic Act No. 11469, or theBayanihan to Heal as One Act, 18 million low-income families willreceive a subsidy of P5,000 to P8,000, depending on the region. In MetroManila, low-income households will receive the maximum of P8,000 per month forApril and May, given the higher minimum wage in the region./PNlast_img read more

Koeman hails team’s character

first_img Saints continue to make a mockery of the doom merchants, with this 1-0 win moving them back up to second in the Barclays Premier League. Sadio Mane’s first-half strike proved the difference as they secured a fourth successive victory at St Mary’s, although Stoke made them work for it. Southampton manager Ronald Koeman was more satisfied by his side’s performance against Stoke than their annihilation of Sunderland last week. Press Association While the scoreline was not as sweet as last week’s, it offered match-winner Mane the chance to make up for last week’s disappointment. The Senegalese summer signing thought he had scored the eighth against Sunderland, only for his first goal for Saints to be harshly stripped off him by the Premier League’s dubious goals panel. “I heard it yesterday and I explained to Mane and his reaction was okay,” Koeman said. “Maybe that was the reason he came to the bench and to say this one they will not take it away again. “He had a great performance – he’s fast, he’s a good player but his defending attitude is important for the team.” Mane gave Stoke a torrid time in the first half but, like his team-mates, was unable to make the same impact after half-time. City boss Mark Hughes was pleased by the way his side responded to a one-sided opening period, but knows that 45 minutes cost them. “From our point of view, we’re a little bit disappointed with the first half, really,” he said. “We didn’t really ask enough questions of Southampton, made it a little bit too easy, showed them a little too much respect, I would suggest, which is understandable to a certain extent given their exploits last time out here. “I think that was the case in the first half. They caused us a few problems at set plays and obviously from one of the ones we didn’t deal with it dropped handily for them and they’ve been able to dispatch the winning goal. “Second half, I thought we were a lot better. We made a change very early on, got Mame Diouf on, and that gave us a threat in behind and that stretched the game. “It allowed us to control of the game and in the second half I thought we were the better side, but we never really created those clear-cut chances we need to get back on level terms.” It was a far cry from last weekend’s 8-0 humbling of Sunderland, but manager Koeman was actually more impressed by this display. “It was difficult because we didn’t kill the game,” the Dutchman said. “We created eight good chances and you know if you don’t score the second one it’s difficult. “Stoke put everything in, changed the system after an hour and with the physical strength that they have it was difficult. “Football is strange because the first half was much better than last week. I think it was one of the best first halves of the season. “In the second half we lost sometimes too easy our position. “They didn’t create a lot, we deserved our win but it was a difficult one, more difficult than last week and maybe more nicer to win like this than last week because the lads showed great character and great ambition again. “We had a great support of our fans and a great win.” last_img read more