This brief article reports on a new global system to detect public health and bioterrorism threats, developed in Canada. The system will be used to track high-profile threats, as well as lesser problems such as contamination to food and water sources, natural disasters, and unsafe medical products, drugs and medical devices. WHO is a key recipient of the alerts, and is using the information to develop plans of action to control outbreaks
The recent global outbreak of SARS provides an opportunity to study the use and impact of public health informatics and population health technology to detect and fight a global epidemic. This includes the Internet, but also other technologies such as wireless devices, mobile phones, smart appliances, or smart homes. Some of the technologies brought forward during the SARS epidemic may have been primarily motivated by marketing efforts, or were more directed towards reassuring people that "something is being done," ie, fighting an "epidemic of fear." To understand "fear epidemiology" is important because early warning systems monitoring data from a large number of people may not be able to discriminate between a biological epidemic and an epidemic of fear. The need for critical evaluation of all of these technologies is stressed
The globalisation of the world economy and the consequent increase in commerce, travel, and communication have brought benefits to virtually every country. But these changes also bring risks that cannot be addressed adequately within traditional national borders. These risks include emerging infectious diseases, resulting in part from increased prevalence of drug-resistant pathogens; exposure to dangerous substances, such as contaminated foodstuffs, and banned and toxic substances; and violence, including chemical and bioterrorist attack. By investing in global health, industrliased countries will not only benefit populations in desperate and immediate need of assistance, but also themselves--through protecting their people, improving their economies, and advancing their international interests. This paper describes the rationale for involvement of industrialised countries in global health, and suggests a means for its coordination.
This chapter outlines WHO's internal strategy for improved knowledge management in the Asian region in response to the SARS and Avian Influenza emergencies; with ICT aiding staff to work together to share knowledge, experience, systems and infrastructure. In the countries where WHO has offices, the information and communications technology (ICT) environments vary considerably, which can make it difficult to ensure all WHO staff have the same level of access to the information and services they need. Focuses on health mapping using GIS technology, and health information systems in China
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