Friday September 22, 2023

‘Infectious diseases dramatically changing economies, societies’

June 03, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Infectious diseases have dramatically changed our economies and societies and overcoming them poses a challenge to the health sector. This was said by Hitoshi Kikawada, a member of the Japanese House of Representatives and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and former state minister while addressing online Pakistan-Field Epidemiology Training Programme (FETP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) here. The Pakistan-Field Epidemiology Training Programme was held in collaboration with Japan-FETP which organized a special online session on the Role of FETPs in Disease Surveillance and Prevention/Control of Diseases. The session was the outcome of a collaboration between the NIH Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Japanese Embassy. The FETPs are designed to train public health professionals to support the development and enhancement of surveillance systems for the timely detection and reporting of diseases. Hitoshi Kikawada, who is in charge of Policies Against Covid-19, was the chief guest of the session. Fellows from the FETPs, health experts, and partners also attended it. In his video message, Kikawada stated that we have faced the pandemic of Covid-19 for over three years and understand that infectious diseases have changed our economies and societies dramatically and overcoming them has become an important challenge. He also said that Japan has dealt with Covid-19 successfully. Through these experiences, Japan can play a more active role in medical cooperation in Asia. In this sense it is wonderful that Japan and Pakistan are working together, he said. During the session, a representative from CDC Pakistan and Dr Tomimasa Sunagawa, MD Director, Center of Field Epidemic Intelligence, Research and Professional Development, National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan focused on disease outbreak investigation and the strengthening of the surveillance system. They also emphasised the significance of tracking disease trends and implementing prompt interventions and preventative measures.

Talking about the Field Epidemiology Training Programmes, they added that they promote collaboration among various stakeholders, including public health agencies, academic institutions, and international organizations. By training epidemiologists and supporting surveillance activities, FETPs help build resilient health systems capable of responding to disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies.