Vice President Addresses the 3rd FSM Pandemic Influenza Summit
Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): March 19, 2009 - The Honorable Vice President Alik L. Alik addressed the 3rd Pandemic Influenza Summit during the opening on March 16, 2009 at the Yvonne's Hotel Conference Room in Kolonia. This year's Summit's Theme is "Preparing for the Pandemic Influenza Outbreak through Community Partnership." This year's Summit is a result of the 2nd Pandemic Influenza Summit was held a year ago, around the same time, March 10-14, 2008.
In his address, Vice President reminded the participants that the theme selected for the conference "partnership" succinctly captures a vision he personally believes is a prerequisite for improving lives in a village, community, islands, state or nation. "Without partnership, our efforts to reach collective action and to achieve maximum return are haphazard. The technical assistance extended to us by the subject matter experts from the joint task force from the US Federal Government, the WHO, and others, is testimony to that spirit of partnership and cooperation."
Vice President Alik said, "We are here today to attend the 3rd FSM Pandemic Influenza Summit because we want to make sure that the plan we set for ourselves to improve the lives of our people is meaningful. Our collective preparation, response, mitigation and recovery from any unwanted event [...] be it a typhoon, landslide, earthquake or even pandemic influenza, will not mean anything without your involvement and support." He went on and said, "you are here representing various agencies, communities and grass-root organizations to create a partnership and make sure that the plan we set for ourselves in the event of pandemic influenza is not only reflective of the community needs but is also responsive to their needs."
He also stated that the resources are scarce, specialties are limited, infrastructures and capacities clearly will not be sufficient to accommodate a disaster that results in mass fatalities or that overcrowds the small hospitals we have throughout the FSM.
He added that the product of the work this week will determine the success that this country will have in facing pandemic influenza. "It is not a simple task, but if we put our minds together, we can minimize the burden and the risks if it should ever hit our islands." Vice President told the participants that, "You represent the "real people" in your communities, your villages, your state and it is expected that you will be including them in your future planning when you return home as well."
Vice President concluded his remarks by urging the participants to be actively involved in the deliberations and utilize the resources they have during the week to develop the network that we need to establish, and to be sure to use your counterparts at the national office in Palikir to strengthen what we all need in our planning and response system.
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