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Special> Aftermath of the Quake> Latest News
UPDATED: May 30, 2008  
WHO: Preventing Epidemic Outbreaks Still a Big Challenge for China
Preventing outbreaks of communicable diseases is still a big challenge for China in the quake-devastated areas

Preventing outbreaks of communicable diseases is still a big challenge for China in the quake-devastated areas, said a World Health Organization (WHO) official here on Thursday.

There were still possibilities for the outbreak of communicable diseases since millions of people were living in camps with a lack of clean water, uncontaminated food, safe shelter and good sanitation, said Dr Hans Troedsson, the WHO representative in China, in an exclusive Xinhua interview.

A monitory and surveillance system was highly needed for early detection of outbreaks of communicable diseases, he said.

The Chinese government had taken appropriate action in preventing the outbreak of communicable diseases and it had been very timely, he added.

"From treating psychological social problems to preventing the risk of epidemics, the Chinese authorities are thinking in a broadway that is looking at the whole range of health problems," Troedsson said.

He appreciated the government for even discussing how to reconstruct a sustainable health care system at the very early stages of the disaster relief. "That's very, very important."

Except for providing health care services, both for diseases and injuries in relation to the earthquake and aftermath, it should not be neglected to provide basic health care to the displaced population as well as the survivors.

"We have to remember that a lot of these people have chronic diseases such as diabetes which also have to be managed."

He said the WHO would send a five person team of experts early next month in response to the Chinese government's request to offer technical support for reconstructing the health care system in the quake-affected areas.

According to Troedsson, the WHO provided both technical assistance and drug supplies to China immediately after the May 12 quake. It sent four "Interagency Emergency Health Kits" containing basic drugs and equipment that could serve about 120,000 people for a month.

China is one of the most important members of the WHO and its office in the country is ready to provide any assistance to the request of the Chinese government when meeting any new challenges, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2008)

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