WHO Announces Members Of Pandemic Influenza Advisory GroupPublished on 21 November 2011 @ 5:26 pm
By William New, Intellectual Property Watch
The World Health Organization today announced the 18 members of the advisory group that will monitor and report on implementation of the new WHO Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework. The group started its first meeting today.
The advisory group, appointed by the WHO director general, is meeting in private from 21-23 November at WHO. This week’s meeting aims to work out details of how to carry out its mandate, according to sources.
The group’s functions are set out in Annex 3 of the PIP Framework agreed at the May World Health Assembly (IPW, WHO, 24 May 2011).
The functions include: “rapid, systematic and timely sharing of H5N1 [avian flu] and other influenza viruses with human pandemic potential with the WHO GISRS [global influenza surveillance and response system]; the Influenza Virus Traceability Mechanism [a software programme for tracking global movement of disease]; the global improvement of laboratory capacity, particularly in developing countries, to enhance pandemic influenza preparedness; the fair and equitable sharing of benefits; and the use of financial and non-financial contributions.”
The details of financial contributions expected from the private sector are a key issue that will emerge from the advisory group, according to a participant. Names of the 18 advisory group members were not released until the opening day of its first meeting in part due to intensive final checks for any possible conflicts of interest, according to sources. Potential conflicts have sometimes caused friction for WHO committees in other areas in the past.
The advisory group is required to report on its activities annually.
The list of group members is comprised of three candidates put forward by each of the six WHO regions. According to Annex 3 of the PIP Framework, each member will serve for 3 years, with one-third renewable, and regional representation must be equitably maintained.
The Annex states that the composition will be “with a skill mix of internationally recognized policy makers, public health experts and technical experts in the field of influenza.” It also states that in the group, “the Members shall act as international experts serving WHO exclusively.”
Many of the members are government officials. At least 11 of the 18 are from developing countries, including the largest developing economies, including Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Thailand. Along with Brazil, the other two from the Americas are Canada and the United States. France is alone from western Europe. In Asia, New Zealand is on the list, but Australia, which played a leading role in earlier stages, is absent.
The group chair is Professor Didier Houssin of France. The vice chair is Professor Tjandra Aditama of Indonesia.
The list of 18 members, with biographies for each, is available here.
The members are:
Professor Tjandra Y. Aditama
Director General of Disease Control and Environmental Health, Ministry of Health, Indonesia
Dr William Kwabena Ampofo
Senior Research Fellow & Head – Virology, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
Dr Jarbas Barbosa da Silva Jr
Secretary (Vice Minister) of Health Surveillance, Ministry of Health, Brazil
Dr Silvia Bino
Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases, Head, Control of Infectious Diseases Department, Institute of Public Health, Tirana, Albania
Professor Rajae El Aouad
Director, National Institute of Hygiene, Morocco
Dr Rainer Engelhardt
Assistant Deputy Minister of the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Branch, Public Health Agency, Canada
Mr David E. Hohman
Senior Advisor, Office of Global Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, United States of America
Professor Didier Houssin
President, French Evaluation Agency for Research and Higher Education (AERES), France
Dr Hama Issa Moussa
National Technical Assistant, Ministry of Public Health, Niger
Dr Mark Jacobs
Director of Public Health, New Zealand
Dr Amr Mohamed Kandeel
Chief of Cabinet, Minister’s Office, Ministry of Health, Egypt
Professor Oleg Ivanovich Kiselev
Director, Research Institute of Influenza, Russian Academy of Medical Science, Russia
Professor Ziad Memish
Assistant Deputy Minister of Health for Preventive Medicine, Saudi Arabia
Dr Nobuhiko Okabe
Director of Infectious Disease Surveillance Center, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan
Dr Adrian J Puren
Divisional head for Centres of Vaccine and Immunology, Respiratory and Meningeal and Enteric Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Disease, South Africa
Professor Prasert Thongcharoen
Professor Emeritus, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Thailand
Dr P V Venugopal
Former Director of International Operations, Medicines for Malaria Venture, India
Professor Yu Wang
Director-General, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, China
William New may be reached at email@example.com.