Philippines ready to meet bird flu threat says report

PHILIPPINES - The Philippines is now quite ready to meet the threat of avian influenza which already hit almost all countries of Asia, local media reported on Monday.
calendar icon 5 February 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
"We are confidently ready because we were successful in managing SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003. The level of preparation is similar to that of SARS," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was quoted by the Philippine News Agency as saying.

Duque said that the country has already stockpiled about 70 to 80 million pesos (1.4-1.6 million U.S. dollars) worth of bird flu vaccines to be administered to patients, which are now stored in different DOH (Department of Health) warehouses throughout the country.

On top of this, the DOH has already identified hospitals throughout the country where the patients would be treated while health care professionals have already been trained to manage bird flu cases, he said.

Duque also said the DOH continues to link its efforts with the Department of Agriculture as they consider that the early stages of bird flu transmission are under the domain of the latter because of the possibility of the virus affecting the poultry industry.

So far, the Philippines, along with Singapore and Brunei, are the only bird flu-free countries in Asia.

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