WHO highlights importance of sharing information to battle disease

The nations of the world must cooperate and share information to fight diseases in accordance with the World Health Organization's 2005 International Health Regulations, the agency's director-general said on Friday.

Margaret Chan made the statement during the World Health Assembly's session in Geneva on Friday. Chan said countries around the world should inform the agency about any issues that stop them from providing timely information about new diseases or infections. The information will give the WHO the ability to dispense appropriate support and advice.

Chan reminded the participants of the assembly that the WHO has many collaborating centers that focus on different diseases.

"WHO collaborating centers will not take intellectual property right to stop the sharing of information and to stop or delay the development of diagnostic test or serology test and that is why they are given the credit and the reputation as a WHO collaborating center," Chan said. "It is not easy to earn that title. It takes many years. And I want to thank many countries who are now moving forward in becoming and investing in becoming a WHO collaborating center."

Chan praised the developed countries that support developing countries in training people and building laboratories to deal with disease outbreaks.