INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: New Cdc Director Talks About Post-Sars Taiwan

Published: Wed 27 Oct 2004 07:42 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS TAIPEI 003341
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
STATE FOR SAP/RSP/TC, S/GAC AND OES/IHA
STATE PASS AIT/W
HHS FOR ERICA ELVANDER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OSCI OTRA SENV TBIO TW ESTH
SUBJECT: NEW CDC DIRECTOR TALKS ABOUT POST-SARS TAIWAN
REF: STATE 225331
1. (SBU) While delivering reftel demarche to the Taiwan
Center for Disease Control on October 21, AIT became
acquainted with the CDC's new director, Steve H.S. Kuo. Kuo
introduced himself, saying that he just assumed his new
position on October 18, after working in Washington for four
years as the Health Advisor at the Taipei Economic and
Cultural Representative Office (TECRO). He explained that in
the post-SARS era, political will in Taiwan was strong for
expanding the government's capacity for dealing with future
outbreaks of infectious diseases. Kuo detailed some of the
changes: the CDC's budget has been increased from $61 million
to $100 million a year; it is actively recruiting young,
ambitious physicians, expanding its medical staff from 3 to
30; and there is a proposal currently under consideration
that would earmark an additional $300 million to finance a
new vaccine production facility in Taiwan that would combat
avian flu and other diseases.
2. (SBU) Kuo described his efforts to increase cooperation
between the Taiwan CDC and its US counterpart. He said that
a 1994 umbrella agreement between the Taiwan Department of
Health (DOH) and the US CDC was a good foundation for such
cooperation, citing the example of a 1999 implementation of
that agreement for a joint project to control the spread of
tuberculosis. Taiwan, he explained, is an important partner
for the US in a global public health network. Every year
millions of Taiwanese businesspeople and tourists travel to
and from the Mainland, including those parts of southern
China where many infectious diseases first appear. With its
sophisticated detection technology and modern, transparent
public health infrastructure, he said, Taiwan is ideally
situated to act as a "sentinel" for new diseases coming out
of China. He said that he looked forward to any
opportunities to cooperate with the US and that he envisioned
Taiwan becoming an essential part of a global disease
prevention network.
PAAL
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