|Subject: WHO: Cholera,
malaria and TB pose major threats in E Timor
also: [WHO] Cholera, malaria and tuberculosis pose major threats in East Timor
Tuberculosis poses major health threat in Timor: WHO
GENEVA, Nov 2 (AFP) - Treatment programmes against tuberculosis (TB) must be urgently re-started in East Timor to avoid a "dramatic increase" in the number of cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Tuesday.
At the same time, the WHO said epidemic diseases such as cholera and malaria were becoming a major public health concern, as the rainy season in East Timor is about to begin.
Studies on East Timorese refugees in Australia have shown that 2.9 percent of them are active carriers of TB, the WHO said in a statement.
"That would mean 20,000 East Timorese dispersed through Timor with active TB," it said.
Dr Diego Buriot, WHO's special envoy to East Timor, said: "It is absolutely essential that we re-establish TB treatment programmes if we want to avoid a dramatic increase in the number of TB-carriers/infected people."
WHO has field personnel in both East and West Timor, who have been supporting the East Timorese health authorities, as well as offering technical guidance to other UN agencies and non-governmental organisations, and setting up a communicable disease surveillance system.
The organisation has appealed for 11.4 million dollars to help it continue and expand its work in East Timor. Most of the appeal (7.7 million dollars) is to support health sector coordination, surveillance, control of priority diseases and to address health personnel problems in East and West Timor.
But so far, WHO said, with the exception of a 300,000 dollar contribution from the Italian government, it has not received any pledges of funds.
World Health Organization (WHO) Date: 02 Nov 1999
Cholera, malaria and tuberculosis pose major threats in East Timor
Press Release WHO/64
With the rainy season in East Timor due to begin in November, epidemic diseases, such as cholera and malaria, are becoming a major public health concern there, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned today. Moreover, tuberculosis (TB) treatment programmes urgently need to be restarted.
Epidemiological studies on East Timorese refugees in Australia have shown that 2.9% of them are active carriers of TB, WHO said. That would mean 20,000 East Timorese dispersed through Timor with active TB. "It is absolutely essential that we re-establish TB treatment programmes if we want to avoid a dramatic increase in the number of TB-carriers/infected people," said Dr Diego Buriot, the WHO Director-General's Special Envoy to East Timor. The WHO-recommended DOTS strategy for TB can be adapted for implementation in this situation, ensuring that patients daily receive their drugs, and consequently are cured rather than develop multi-drug resistant TB.
WHO already has field personnel in both East and West Timor. They have been supporting the health authorities in East Timor, offering technical guidance to other UN agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the field, and setting up a communicable disease surveillance system in East Timor.
As of today, however, with the exception of US$ 300,000 received from the Government of Italy, WHO has not received any pledges of funds which would allow it to sustain and expand its public health presence in East Timor to meet the above disease threats - and to provide technical back-up for the full range of health-sector programmes being implemented there.
WHO has appealed for US$11.4 million as apart of the United Nations' Consolidated Appeal launched 27 October in Geneva. The bulk of the WHO appeal (US$7,785,000) is for health sector coordination, surveillance, control of priority diseases and addressing health personnel problems in both East and West Timor.
For further information, journalists can contact Gregory Hartl, WHO, Geneva. Telephone (41 22) 791 44 58. Fax (41 22) 791 48 58. E-Mail: email@example.com
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