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Old 05-13-2009, 07:17 AM
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Wink Indonesian Minister of Health Demands Dignity, Equality and Transparency for all

Indonesian Minister of Health Demands Dignity, Equality and Transparency for all Countries in the World

by Eva-Maria Föllmer-Müller and Stefan Keller

In her book, Siti Fatilah Supari describes her fight against the WHO and the neo-colonial efforts to deprive her country – as well as all other developing countries – of their sovereignty, their rights and their dignity. She accuses the rich industrial countries to treat the developing countries unequally and calls for transparency with respect to the passing on and processing of viruses.

Avian Flu in Indonesia
Indonesia was hit the hardest by the avian flu epidemic. Since 2005 avian flu has become a serious health problem. Meanwhile there are 141 confirmed cases of avian flu in humans. 115 of the affected have died up to now.

She describes how the Indonesian government and the Indonesian society carefully handled the consequences of the avian flu in their own country and how they undertook the necessary steps to stop its spreading.
Untiring efforts in fighting the unequal treatment of developing countries

As the Minister of Health of her country she at first precisely abided by the WHO-regulations on handling the avian flu. Thereby she noticed the rich countries gross unequal treatment of the developing countries’, which becomes obvious in the following examples:

The WHO requested the Indonesian Government to provide for a sufficient quantity of the substance Tamiflu for virus inhibition. It took a great effort to come up with the necessary sum of money. But still she could not acquire the medicine since the provisions had been completely bought up by the rich countries using them as their reserves. (90 percent of the vaccine trade is handled by 10 percent of the world population)

Indonesia with its populatin of about 237,5 million is the fourth largest country with regard to its population. It comprises 13,000 to 17,000 islands, 33 provinces, 21 of them were affected by the avian flu.

Poultry is Indonesia’s most important meat supplier. According to FAO (18 March 2008) 20 percent of the poultry population (14 million) are distributed on over 30 million backyards. That is why the situation is critical even today. Since the outbreak of the avian flu in 2005 more than 9,5 million poultry (ducks, geese, chilcken, quail) had to be killed.

These experiences led her to the conclusion that her country had to stand on its own feet. In the introduction of her book she wrote: “The case of avian influenza furthermore needs our firm commitment to always keep the Sovereignty of the Nation and the Republic of Indonesia. And beyond the acknowledgment of the majority of of people, the WHO Collaborating Centers (WHO-CCs), in fact, has been forwarding the samples of Indonesian strain (and other strains) of avian influenza viruses to companies in the developed countries. The latter are in turn developping the viruses into vaccines, but then sell them commercially and expensively, also to the poor and the developing countries affected by the viruses.” (authors note, p. xi)

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Indonesian Minister of Health Demands Dignity, Equality and Transparency for all Countries in the World

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