Expert lambasts gov't disease prevention failure
By Adam Tyrsett Kuo, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Su Ih-jen (蘇益仁), chief of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, said yesterday that Taiwan's disease prevention challenges are mainly budget related, and that the island's research and development in this field is lagging behind mainland China.
August 18, 2013, 12:14 am TWN
Emerging infectious diseases (EID) are an important topic not only for Taiwan but also the entire world, Su said, adding that EID affects national security, health as well as economic development.
Speaking about national disease prevention systems, Su cited the H5N1 and H1N1 outbreaks in the U.S.
The U.S.' national disease prevention policy is founded upon a very strong scientific base, Su said.
From the U.S.' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to the National Institutes of Health, to the country's national security system, and to the White House, policies are actively formed in light of sound scientific evidence, Su explained.
In this regard, Taiwan is nowhere near the U.S., Su said, adding that Taiwan's leadership does not attach a great enough importance to the matter, and that the relevant agencies are not given enough resources.
Su said that although Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control has stepped up its game after the SARS epidemic, there has been a lack of integration between government branches with regard to disease prevention.
Referring to the re-emergence of rabies in Taiwan, Su said that there has been a serious lack of coordination between the Council of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine and its Animal Health Research Institute.
“When there are no outbreaks, the government seems to forget the existence of (disease prevention bodies), and when outbreaks do occur, they become veritable disasters,” Su said.