PM Lee: International cooperation important when fighting infectious diseases

In the wake of the first cases of H7N9 infections in humans, an important way to fight infectious diseases is to strengthen international cooperation, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday.

Addressing more than 900 delegates from 46 countries in Singapore at the opening of a World Health Summit regional meeting, he added: "Early warning surveillance systems, information sharing and coordinated cross-border infection controls remain critical to combating this threat (of infectious diseases). We must therefore continue to strengthen our links with the World Health Organisation and other public health agencies as a vanguard against future pandemics."

The three-day event at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel with 120 local and overseas speakers is being held in Asia for the first time. Over the next two days, the delegates will discuss the impact of health on Asian economies, health innovations and financing healthcare in Asia, and emerging health threats in the region.

Professor John Wong, president of the World Health Summit 2013 and co-chairman of the organising committee, said the theme of "Health for Sustainable Development in Asia" underscored the importance of pre-empting and dealing with health issues as a key factor in the continued dynamic growth in Asian economies.

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