WITH numerous biological diseases plaguing different nations all over the world, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) recently concluded the Regional Forum on Bio-preparedness and Disaster Response Workshop, creating an avenue for different countries to share information and practices relating to disaster preparation and response during biological diseases outbreaks and epidemics.
Speaking to the 18 representatives from different nations, the United States Embassy in the Philippines’ Deputy Chief of Mission Brian Goldbeck opened the said workshop on August 26 held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati City.
Emphasizing on the significance of the recently concluded workshop, the deputy chief lauded the Asean for discussing disaster response especially with the different issues the world is facing.
“World news has placed in front of us visions of the current Ebola Epidemic in West Africa and the recent Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, known as MERS, outbreak in Saudi Arabia. These viruses have caused a great deal of concern not only for our governments but also for our personally safety,” said Goldbeck in his opening speech.
“It is my hope this workshop leads to a plan that will develop into a regional program that fosters a more secure region with its countries confident, and ready to tackle any biological and disease borne threats to its populations and its future,” he added.
The main goal of the workshop is for each country to devise national guidelines on bio-preparedness, develop concrete and practical follow-on actions, design a roadmap for multilateral cooperation, and enhance communication and coordination among foreign affairs, public and veterinary health, civilian law enforcement and military sectors.
With the support of the US and the collective efforts of different nations, the forum shed some light on the best practices and up-to-date information useful to world efforts in combating biological and disease-borne threats.
“Exploring and implementing best practices, sharing successes, and documenting lessons learned benefits all participants in the forum, and helps better prepare the region in case of biological disaster,” Goldbeck said.
Now that the workshop has concluded, the results and outcome gathered during the event will be presented to the Asean Regional Forum ministers in 2015. With this gathering of experts and stakeholders, the workshop hopes to establish the foundation for a program to address biosecurity concerns in the region.