Health :: IT can boost disease-data exchanges

The Mainland, Hong Kong and Macau should make more use of information technology to speed up the exchange of data regarding pandemics, says Secretary for Health, Welfare & Food Dr York Chow.

Dr Chow made the appeal to fellow delegates at the fifth three-way meeting of senior health officials held in Macau today. He argued a swift response was crucial in tackling infectious diseases.

Speaking at the meeting opening, he said co-operation and communication between the three places were much closer since a co-operation agreement on a response mechanism for public health emergencies was signed last October.

“Avian influenza and an influenza pandemic have posed a serious threat to the international community,” Dr Chow said.

He stressed the three places should strengthen and improve their exchanges and co-operation in monitoring, forewarning and handling cases of people with avian flu infection and new types of flu.They should also enhance exchanges, training and scientific research co-operation.

The two-day meeting will cover:

* how to implement the cooperation agreement;

* the discharge of a framework convention on tobacco control;

* medical and healthcare system building;

* developing community health services in cities;

* traditional Chinese medicine in disease prevention; and

* hospital management.

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