ASEAN, China Bolster Collaboration to Prevent Zoonotic Diseases
“Indonesia is committed to promoting the One Health scheme through ASEAN -China health cooperation," he stated while chairing the 8th ASEAN-China Health Ministers Meeting (ACHMM) in Nusa Dua, Bali Province, on Sunday.
One Health is a collaborative scheme among the countries to optimally promote healthy humans, animals, and the environment.
The Indonesian minister has emphasized that humans, animals, and the environment are inseparable. Unfortunately, people often exploit other living things in such an excessive way that causes ecological imbalances and eventually leads to the emergence of zoonotic diseases that threaten human life.
He said that for 19 years, ASEAN and China have faced several outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza caused by H5N1 in 2003, as well as COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 in 2019.
"There may be another outbreak which has the potential to cause another pandemic," he said.
Hence, he proposed a number of intervention attempts, including strengthening the regional capacities and capabilities, as well as optimizing existing information-sharing platforms in ASEAN.
"The optimization must involve the development of big data, artificial intelligence and the internet access to enable real-time integrated global surveillance of human, animal, and plant diseases," he stated.
In addition, Sadikin encouraged ASEAN and China to develop regional research centers and networks.
"I believe in the power of investment. Investment in research and development activities will strengthen the region's ability to respond to a pandemic in future," he remarked.
Reflecting to the COVID-19 pandemic, he stated that the global genomic data studied by the researchers have facilitated the rapid discovery and development of vaccines.
The minister said that the One Health scheme must also be supported by conducting transfer of knowledge from China to develop local medical equipment manufacturing facilities in ASEAN member countries.
"In addition, we were able to quickly respond to the pandemic through business-to-business as well as multilateral and regional cooperation. By having local manufacturers, each ASEAN member country will have stronger capacities and capabilities when another pandemic occurs," he stated.
It is also important to secure an adequate supply of vaccines, therapies, and medical diagnostic equipment, he added.
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