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Thursday, 18 August 2005
Page: 329


Mr Rudd asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing, on 23 June 2005:

(1)   What programs exist to combat Avian Influenza, and what sum does each program receive.

(2)   In which countries do these programs operate.

(3)   Who administers the programs.

(4)   Which country receives the most funding from the Australian Government to combat Avian Influenza.

(5)   How many Australians are employed in these programs.

(6)   Are local people employed to work in the programs.

(7)   How many people are affected by Avian Influenza and in which countries do they reside.

(8)   How many people have died from Avian Influenza and where were they from.


Mr Downer (Minister for Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   Since April 2003, the Australian Government, through the aid program, has approved 17 separate initiatives targeting Avian Influenza and other communicable diseases such as SARS. The approved activities have a combined value of $18.2 million. Please refer to Table 1 for a description of each approved activity.

(2)   Please refer to Table 1.

(3)   Please refer to Table 1.

(4)   Of the $18.2 million committed through the aid program to date, $12.8 million has been directed toward international organisations and regional bodies such as the WHO and the ASEAN Secretariat for use in cooperative and non-country specific or regional responses. However, of the $5.4 million approved for bilateral or country specific initiatives, most (some $4.3 million) has been directed toward Indonesia.

(5)   It is not practicable to provide a precise figure for the number of Australian personnel employed on these programs because of the diverse nature and disparate timing of the various Australian funded bilateral and multilateral initiatives. However, under the programs outlined in Table 1, the Australian Government, through DoHA, will directly engage three Australian epidemiologists to undertake program activities. Australian personnel at the CSIRO Animal Health Laboratories in Geelong are also providing assistance to visiting personnel from some affected countries. In addition, a significant proportion of Australian funding has been provided to international organisations and regional bodies such as the WHO and the ASEAN Secretariat. These organisations utilise that funding to access personnel and resources from a range of countries, including Australia.

(6)   Yes, where possible local personnel are employed on the programs. Local personnel are also the focus of capacity building activities for affected countries. For example, the CSIRO Animal Health Laboratories in Geelong have provided epidemiological and diagnostic training for personnel from affected developing countries.

(7)   According to the WHO’s most recent reporting there have been 109 laboratory confirmed cases of Avian Influenza in humans since December 2003. Vietnam has the largest number of confirmed cases to date with 87 in total. A further17 cases have been confirmed in Thailand and 4 in Cambodia. There are also as yet unconfirmed reports of a further 15 cases around the region, including a further 2 fatalities in Indonesia.

(8)   The WHO reports 55 laboratory confirmed human deaths resulting from Avian Influenza since December 2003, 38 of which occurred in Vietnam, 12 in Thailand, 4 in Cambodia and 1 in Indonesia. There have also been unconfirmed reports of a further 2 fatalities in Indonesia during July 2005.

Table 1. AusAID assistance to combat Avian Influenza and other emerging and resurging zoonotic diseases - total commitments since 2003 $18.2 million

Year

Funding $A

Administering Organisation

Country/ies Targeted

Activity Description

April 2003

$1.7

million

World Health Organisation: Western Pacific Regional Office

Regional Asia

WHO: capacity building to help prevent and control outbreaks of SARS in the Western Pacific region, including provision of additional research expertise as well as the procurement of medical equipment unavailable in China.

May 2003

$500,000

WHO

China

A further $500,000 was provided for SARS prevention and control in China through existing bilateral rural health projects.

April 2004

$1 million

WHO

Global

WHO Geneva: strengthening the operations of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.

April 2004

$500,000

WHO Western Pacific Regional Office

Regional Asia

WHO Western Pacific Regional Office: employing experts in epidemiology, animal health, virology, laboratory and public health to address Avian Influenza outbreaks as well as to procure supplies and equipment and to produce training materials.

April 2004

$150,000

WHO South East Asia Regional Office:

East Timor, Thailand and Burma.

WHO South East Asia Regional Office: enabling technical support and the provision of essential supplies to address Avian Influenza, particularly diagnostic kits and personnel protective equipment for East Timor, Thailand and Burma.

April 2004

$350,000

DAFF, CSIRO Animal Health Laboratory Geelong

Regional Asia

DAFF, CSIRO Animal Health Laboratory Geelong: responding to the epidemiological and diagnostic needs arising from the Avian Influenza outbreak.

April 2004

$325,000

WHO Indonesia

Indonesia

WHO Indonesia office: providing epidemiological and other technical assistance, including antiviral supplies and training.

June 2004

$1 million

WHO Indonesia

Indonesia

WHO Indonesia office: strengthening Indonesia’s surveillance and response capacities for diseases such as Avian Influenza.

July 2004

$650,000

ASEAN Secretariat

ASEAN Region

ASEAN Secretariat: helping to build capacity to deal with infectious disease outbreaks through the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program.

April 2005

$200,000

WHO Cambodia

Cambodia

WHO Cambodia: strengthening Cambodia’s surveillance and response capacities for Avian Influenza.

April 2005

$6 million

WHO WPRO, ASEAN Secretariat, DAFF

Regional Asia

WHO WPRO, ASEAN Secretariat, DAFF: strengthening the regions ability to identify and respond to outbreaks of emerging and resurging zoonotic diseases.

May 2005

$75,000

DAFF

Indonesia, East Timor and South Pacific

DAFF: providing workshops and training to promote sharing of information, lessons, and advice to help facilitate more efficient and effective responses to Avian Influenza for Indonesia, East Timor and South Pacific participants.

June 2005

$1 million

WHO

Global

WHO Geneva: strengthening WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network and Global Influenza Program

June 2005

$750,000

DoHA

Indonesia, Vietnam and China

DoHA: establishing and managing a regional network of Australian epidemiologists based in Indonesia, Vietnam and China.

June 2005

$3 million

WHO Indonesia

Indonesia

WHO Indonesia: assisting the Indonesian Government to set up rapid response and surveillance teams, to ensure hospitals are ready with trained personnel and equipment and to improve the capacity of both human and veterinary laboratories.

June 2005

$500,000

WHO China

China

WHO China: strengthening preparedness for potential influenza pandemics and to develop early warning and response capacity to deal with emerging public health threats.

June 2005

$500,000

WHO and FAO

DPR Korea

DPRK : $250,000 each to WHO and FAO to help DPRK respond to Avian Influenza