The Feb. 27 editorial, “Indonesia decides to share,” gives us a lot to think about. The statement that “the fight against infectious diseases can be won only if all countries participate, share research and results” is indeed insightful.
Today, the role of migratory birds in transmitting H5N1 virus has been confirmed. As researchers fear that avian influenza may one day become transmissible from human to human, we need coordinative efforts by all nations to fight a global pandemic together. No single nation should be left out.
While we are delighted that Jakarta may resume sharing virus samples and the like with the World Health Organization, Taiwan remains a weak link in the pandemic prevention system. WHO continues to deny Taiwan normal participation.
In a civilized society, disease prevention and control should be above politics. China’s objection to Taiwan’s normal participation in WHO is an unfortunate example of political intervention in health. It is unwise because it rejects the potential contribution of Taiwan if struck by bird flu or other pandemic.
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