Inauguration Ceremony of Hokkaido University WHO Collaborating Centre for Zoonoses Control and at the Regional Forum of Collaborating/Reference Centres on Emerging Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses
Dr Shin Young-soo
World Health Organization Regional Director for the Western Pacific
DIRECTOR-GENERAL, MR HIROSHI TAKAHASI, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES, JAPAN;
ASSISTANT MINISTER, MR HAYASHI TOWATARI, MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, CULTURE, SPORTS, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, JAPAN;
Director, Mr Teiji Takei, Office of International Cooperation, International Affairs Division, Minister's Secretariat, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan;
Vice Governor of Hokkaido, Mr Osamu Takai;
Professor Ichiro Ueda, Executive and Vice PRESIDENT OF Hokkaido University;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am very pleased and honoured to address this Inauguration Ceremony and the Regional Forum of Collaborating/Reference Centres on Emerging Infectious Diseases and Zoonoses.
First of all, I would like to congratulate Hokkaido University on being designated as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Zoonoses Control and express my sincere appreciation to the significant support with excellent performance that Hokkaido University has provided to WHO and the international community over the past years in the field of zoonoses control.
The support Hokkaido University provided ranges from technical assistance such as provision of diagnosis on Leptospirosis using new technology, to provision of platform such as hosting workshops for international and interdisciplinary collaboration.
The role Hokkaido University has played has been crucial for the international community and it will be more so with the designation of WHO collaborating centre in fighting the increasing threats of zoonoses and emerging diseases.
I would also like to thank Hokkaido University for hosting this regional forum. Emerging infectious diseases – many of which will originate from animals – will continue to emerge and impact on health and trade.
Increasing population growth, overcrowding and encroachment into wildlife territories create the conditions for continued emergence of infectious diseases.
Globalization and the increasingly interconnected world we live in provide the means for rapid spread.
Emerging infections can be known agents in new locations; known agents in a previously unsusceptible species or a previously unknown agent detected for the first time; our systems therefore need to be sensitive to detect such agents.
Outbreaks of avian influenza H5N1 have improved our surveillance and response capacity.
Past epidemics and pandemics have also taught us many other lessons.
But many facts remain unknown.
Preparing for and responding to emerging diseases and zoonoses, provides us with an opportunity to create stronger systems.
It also creates an opportunity to collaborate across sectors.
We have realized that one sector alone cannot address zoonoses.
At the regional level, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Organisation for Animal Health and WHO have been collaborating under "One Health", a strategic framework for reducing risks at the Animal-Human-Ecosystems Interface.
In countries there has also been progress over the past years in developing mechanisms for collaborative working between animal health and human health sectors.
Working together to strengthen surveillance, laboratory and clinical management systems is also important in the fight against antimicrobial resistance — a growing concern that can threaten health security.
Antimicrobial resistance is costly to the health service, society and the economy.
We have to be vigilant to safeguard against inappropriate and irrational use of medicines in both humans and animals.
We also need to strengthen systems to detect resistant organisms at an early stage when control is possible.
With the progressive development of better systems and increasing collaborative efforts between the animal and human health sectors, we are learning more about how to fight emerging infectious diseases.
A fight in which our best weapons are better detection and control.
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to thank all of you for contributing to this unique, first-of-its-kind, meeting; and of particular I wish to thank Hokkaido University again for hosting this event as a new WHO collaborating centre.
I am confident that your discussions and the recommendations will advance our ongoing work to build national and regional capacity by developing sustainable, efficient and cost-effective systems for the detection and response to emerging infectious diseases.
I once again congratulate Hokkaido University and wish you all fruitful deliberations and a pleasant stay in Sapporo.