AUDREY EDWARDS and LISA GOH at the Kuala Lumpur-OIC Health Ministerial Conference on Wednesday.
PREPARING for an influenza pandemic, producing vaccines and developing a fatwa on smoking and health were among the issues which emerged from a two-day scientific programme and expected to form the basis of a draft resolution for senior health officers at the KL-Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Health Ministerial Conference.
The draft resolution will be presented to OIC health ministers for deliberation to become the KL Declaration 2007, which will be announced tomorrow.
Among the steps recommended in preparing to combat an influenza pandemic and bird flu were having preparedness plans and infection control practices in each member country, strengthening capabilities and capacities to produce anti-viral drugs and vaccines, and having a planning guide where non-pharmaceutical interventions are used to help delay a pandemic.
There was also concern about the gap that existed in preparedness by member states and other developed countries, the lack of contingency plans by the private sector globally, and a need for governments and every level of society within a country to work closer.
The strengthening of national regulatory authorities in member states has been encouraged in order to ensure a reliable supply of quality, safe and affordable vaccines so that countries can be self-reliant and self-sufficient in their immunisation programmes.
Malaysia has already initiated the move to produce halal vaccines for itself and OIC member countries. Production is to be carried out by the National Institute for Natural Products, Vaccines and Biologicals (9Bio), which is an OIC self-reliant vaccine production group member.
The issue of smoking, where some of the member countries, especially Bahrain, have high consumption, has led to a call for the drawing up and adoption of a fatwa on smoking and health, and passing legislation as the main element in tobacco control.
When met midway yesterday during the senior health officers' meeting to conclude the technical sessions, Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said that there were eight resolutions to be discussed where the majority of member countries were “quite happy” with what had been drafted.
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