WHO warns of epidemic diseases potential
5 November 1999
East Timor - With the rainy season in East Timor starting, epidemic diseases,such as cholera and malaria are becoming major public health concerns, according to a warning issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Moreover, tuberculosis treatment programmes urgently need to be restarted. Epidemiological studies on East Timorese refugees in Australia have shown that 2.9% of them are active carriers of TB. That would mean 20,000 East Timorese dispersed through Timor with active TB. The WHO-recommended DOTS strategy for TB can be adapted for implementation in this situation,ensuring that patients daily receive their drugs,and consequently are cured rather than develop multi-drugs resistant TB. WHO already has field personnel in both East and West Timor, supporting health authorities offering technical guidance and setting up a communicable disease surveillance system in East Timor. As of today,WHO has not received any pledge of funds .WHO has appealed for $US11.4 million as a part of the United Nations' Consolidated Appeal launched on October 27 in Geneva.