WHO chief urges enhanced surveillance for possible SARS recurrence 2003-09-08 15:36

  MANILA, Sept. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Lee Jong-wook called here Monday for enhanced surveillance to deal with a possible recurrence of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

  "We have to prepare on the assumption that this (SARS) will come back," Lee said in a speech at the opening of the 54th session of the WHO regional committee for the Western Pacific.

  "Together, we won this battle," he said, but quickly adding that no one can predict what will happen later this year.

  "Our challenge now is to enhance surveillance networks that will detect and deal with SARS if it does come back," said Dr. Leeof South Korea.

  The Western Pacific region, hardest hit by the world's newest disease, had been "tested to the full," he said. "We had to work to understand what was causing it at the same time as we struggledto treat those most directly affected."

  The dreaded SARS has infected more than 8,000 people and claimed over 900 lives worldwide, mostly in East Asia.

  During the five-day meeting, delegates from 37 members in the region are expected to discuss policies, programs and directions for the future on a host of health concerns, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, SARS, child health, and tobacco control.

  The meeting is also expected to devise a regional strategy for improving access to essential medicines in the region in the next five years. Enditem

 Related Stories