The Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO) jointly held a conference in Hanoi on May 12 to review the Asia-Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases (APSED) and the International Health Regulations (IHR) to draw lessons for future operations in the field.

The IHR, in effect since June 15, 2007, is a legally binding document for all WHO member countries. The regulations aim to prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten the global population.

Meanwhile, the APSED, which was launched for the first time in 2005 and amended in 2010, is a regional strategy targeting improved capacity in managing and responding to emerging and existing diseases.

Addressing the event, Head of the Health Ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department Tran Dac Phu said after the IHR was approved the department was assigned to coordinate in its implementation.

An emergency operations centre (EOC) was set up to cope with dangerous pandemics including Ebola, he noted, adding that this year the ministry approved a plan to deal with emerging diseases and organise public health events.

As part of efforts to realise the APSED in preventing the transfer of diseases from animals to humans, the ministry has assessed the general risk of bird flu H7N9, while safeguarding against Ebola, he said.

Phu revealed the health sector will continue coordinating with other sectors in the “one health” direction, completing the EOC model and increasing supervision over a number of diseases spreading from animals to people.

During the conference, participants also discussed a number of issues, including the implementation of the IHR in Vietnam, preparations for coping with urgent public health conditions, and the prevention and control of bacterial contamination.-VNA