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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 03/27/2007
INDONESIA
Bird flu: Indonesia will give WHO samples only if vaccines are cheap
Jakarta has denounced that samples are given free to big pharmaceutical firms that produce vaccines which are way too expensive for poor countries. So Indonesia is asking for guarantees that vaccines will be accessible. WHO has offered poor countries the capacity to produce vaccines. Meanwhile, there are more deaths and cases of infection in Indonesia.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Indonesia refuses to give bird flu samples to the World Health Organization without a guarantee that the virus would not be used to make unaffordable vaccines. Meanwhile, two more deaths from bird flu have been confirmed in the country and there is another case of infection.

Yesterday, Siti Fadiliah Supari, Indonesia’s Health Minister, reiterated her government’s stand during a meeting held to resolve the dispute. WHO has warned that without virus samples, scientists cannot monitor the situation and ascertain whether the virus is mutating into more contagious form. But the country has replied by saying that the big pharmaceutical companies using Indonesian samples created vaccines that were too costly and urged WHO not to give samples to large firms that used them to their advantage. Supari said in an interview: “These practices keep developing countries poor and sick. The system is more dangerous than bird flu itself.”

With 66 certified deaths, Indonesia is the country hardest hit by the disease but it cannot afford to pay costly vaccines for its population of more than 220 million. Its stand has been approved by other developing countries, many of which came to Jakarta to search for a solution to the problem. Since the end of 2003, the disease has killed 169 people worldwide but it is held that this figure is a gross under-estimation of its true toll.

WHO Director David Heymann countered Indonesia’s objections by saying that the country’s stand was hindering research about the virus. He proposed a stockpile of vaccines for developing countries as well as help to produce them.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has reached a tentative agreement with drug manufacturer Baxter Healthcare Corp. Under the deal, Indonesia would provide samples of the virus in exchange for stockpiles of the vaccine.

Mike Leavitt, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, also urged Jakarta to review its stand and offered WHO 10 million dollars to help poor countries access vaccines.

Today, Muhammad Nadirin, a health ministry official, said tests revealed that the virus had killed another two people, although the results are yet to be confirmed. A 15-year-old boy from Indramayu (western Java) died on 25 March, and a 22-year-old woman from Palembang (south-east Sumatra) died on 24 March. Local sources said the latter had never had contact with birds but had at least 20 cats at home. In this country, it has been proved that cats can contract and spread the disease. A 39-year-old infected man from Mojokerto (eastern Java) has been admitted to Soetomo hospital (Surabaya).

Meanwhile, there are three more cases of infection in Egypt, bringing its number of cases to 29. These are a five-year-old boy from Minya, a six-year-old girl from Hajer Mohamed Awadallah, who was admitted to the southern city of Aswan. In Aswan region, there have already been two cases of infection but the Health Minister said these “are not related”.


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See also
03/21/2006 ASIA
Bird flu reaches Pakistan
06/26/2006 INDONESIA - AZERBAIJAN
Indonesia: Mutation in bird flu virus proven
10/06/2005 INDONESIA
Indonesia's bird flu toll is rising
by Mathias Hariyadi
09/22/2005 INDONESIA
Fears of bird flu outbreak spread in Indonesia after two children die
10/17/2005 ASIA
Asian battleground key to beating bird flu virus

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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