UK pledges £20M to help poorer countries prepare for flu

UK Health Minister Rosie Winterton today met with her international counterparts at an International Pledging Conference in Beijing to pledge £20 million over the next three years to help poorer countries prepare for avian and human pandemic influenza.

Over the next three years, the UK has pledged to provide £20m of untied finance from the Department for International Development, through multilateral channels, to support country, regional or global activities.

The UK is prepared to discuss with international governments the use of some of the UK's bilateral programmes to support integrated national strategies on avian and human pandemic influenza. UK health agencies have a wide range of relevant expertise in areas such as laboratory testing, training, preparedness and planning.

Ms Winterton said: "The holding of this meeting recognises that the threats of avian and human pandemic influenza are of truly global significance. In turn, they need a global response; one that helps all countries rise to the challenge; and one that brings all countries together. We cannot hope to deal effectively with these issues through each country working alone.

"While influenza is a threat to all countries, we are here because we recognise that poorer countries need assistance from the international community to meet the challenge and because the key international agencies also need additional resources if they are to do all that needs to be done. For poor countries there are immediate needs, to respond to immediate threats on avian health and plan for a possible pandemic; we also need to consider how such countries are to access antivirals and vaccines they will need in a situation of global shortages. And we need to help countries build sustainable capacity to tackle infectious diseases, including delivering basic health and veterinary services.”


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