Via The Jakarta Post: Govt steps up coordination to control spread of Zika, bird flu. Excerpt:
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s recent decision to disband the National Committee on Zoonosis (Komnas Zoonosis), whose functions have now been taken over by the Coordinating Human Development and Culture Ministry, is expected to improve the nation’s ability to control zoonotic diseases such as bird flu and Zika.
The ministry’s health development deputy, Sigit Priohutomo, said the ministry would start working once the President issued a presidential regulation on the committee’s disbandment.
“We are still waiting for the Perpres,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, adding that the committee’s functions would remain intact with the existing panel of experts expected to remain.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) declared Indonesia as one of the hotspots for new emerging diseases in Asia.
In 2003, the country recorded the first case of avian influenza (AI). Among 199 cases of AI found in humans this year, 167 caused human deaths, which made Indonesia the country with the highest rate of deaths from AI.
Indonesia is now bracing for a possible Zika outbreak after a number of neighboring Singaporean and Malaysian citizens tested positive for the disease, which causes microcephaly.
The FAO said the disbandment of Komnas Zoonosis would not disrupt One Health implementation in Indonesia as long as its functions are taken over by the ministry, which is led by Puan Maharani, daughter of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairman Megawati Soekarnoputri.
“FAO looks forward to increased engagement with [the ministry] on the implementation of our One Health-focused Emerging Pandemic Threats and rabies control projects,” FAO ECTAD Indonesia team leader James McGrane said.