Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS): Japan's Initiative

23 May 2003

The rapid spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a typical example of the negative impact of globalisation, presents a menace to the lives of human beings, not only in Asia but also throughout the world. In order to overcome this imminent threat to human security, the international community is called for taking immediate actions through close cooperation among all stakeholders.

Following actions should be taken:

  1. Immediate measures to halt the spread
    • Disinfection and isolation
    • Preventing spread through movement of people
    • Effective care for people affected by SARS
  2. Strengthening national and regional capabilities of surveillance, prevention and control
  3. Tackling economic and social outcome caused by the disease

1. Immediate actions to halt the spread

Japan, with its strong solidarity with its Asian neighbours who are most suffering from this epidemic, has already extended concrete assistance, as below, in the amount of approximately 2 billion Yen (approximately 17 million US Dollars).

(1) Dispatch of Japan Disaster Relief Expert Teams to Viet Nam and China (March and May respectively).
Japan is proud of successfully containing SARS in Viet Nam in cooperation with the Government of Viet Nam, WHO and other stakeholders.

(2) Provision of medicines, medical equipment etc. of the total value of 387.8 million Yen for China, Mongolia, and Southeast Asian Countries (28 April/14 May)
Recipient Countries (Approximate cost; including shipping charges)

(a) China 205.0 million yen
(b) The Philippines 43.5 million yen
(c) Mongolia 28.0 million yen
(d) Thailand 26.3 million yen
(e) Laos 23.7 million yen
(f) Cambodia 18.7 million yen
(g) Myanmar 12.6 million yen
(h) Indonesia 30.0 million yen

Items of Equipment to be provided

(a) Personal Protective Equipment (Coveralls, Masks, Breath Support System, etc.)
(b) Basic Laboratory Equipment (Table top Autoclaves, Portable Centrifuges, Portable Biohazard Boxes, etc.)
(c) Blood Sampling Equipment (Alcohol Swabs, Vacutainer Blood Collection, Syringes, etc.)
(d) Specimen Storage & Shipping Equipment (Infectious Substance Shipper, Bio-Bottles, Coolers, Portable Liquid Nitrogen Tanks, etc.)
(e) Medicaments (Ribavirin, Tamiflu, etc.)
(f) Miscellaneous (Emergency Start Up Kits, Ventilators, Patient Monitors, etc.)

(3) Emergency grant aid (1.5 billion Yen) and grassroots human security grant aid (27 million Yen) to China
Emergency grant aid: funds to purchase air sterilizers, X-ray equipment, ventilators, intensive treatment monitors, transfusion pumps, etc.
Grassroots human security grant aid: Beijing City - 20,000 coveralls (about 10 million yen); Shanghai City - four portable X-ray machines for doctor's rounds (about 17 million yen)

2. Strengthening national and regional capabilities of surveillance, prevention and control

An extensive network of experts and administrators in order to control communicable diseases is indispensable.

Japan proposes:

  • to strengthen infrastructure of the "Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network" of WHO
  • to accelerate revision of the "International Health Regulation" of WHO in order to tackle challenges caused by new diseases.
  • to strengthen technical contribution by WHO towards countries suffering from outbreak of diseases and to enhance cooperation
  • to strengthen the capacity of WPRO (West Pacific Regional Office of WHO), for technical assistance to those countries as well as for research and training on management of new infectious diseases

3. Tackling economic and social impacts of the disease

Various sectors of Asian economies are hit severely by SARS. Enhanced international cooperation is needed in order to support the recovery of economic activities as well as to alleviate negative impacts to the everyday life. Japan will actively take part in discussions in various international and regional fora such as WHO, UN, G8, APEC and ASEAN+3.

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