From the New York Times to the New Scientist and National Geographic, the world’s media is abuzz with the imminent threat of another killer flu virus, a pandemic of which could wipe out millions of people. The editor, Callan Emery, sat in on the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Committee meeting in Cairo in September where it was made very clear by WHO’s director general Dr Lee Jong-wook that governments must make urgent preparations for another deadly flu pandemic. Failure to heed the warning will have “catastrophic consequences” the directorgeneral cautioned. International collaboration is essential, as is the establishment in each country of an integrated, multisectoral body to focus on the issue, communicate efficiently within government and advise the public. Read the editor’s report on page 20.

In this issue’s regional profile, the editor reports from Cairo on the healthcare situation in Egypt and looks at how the country is struggling to cope with the equitable dissemination of healthcare to a burgeoning population. See page 30.

The FDA Advisory Committee has recommended the FDA approve Exubera, a novel powdered insulin administered through an inhaler, which if approved will be welcomed by diabetics worldwide. For some this will mean being able to discard forever their odious insulin needles. See page 38.

Also in this issue you’ll find interesting and informative articles on Open MRI, the South Asia earthquake as well as an exclusive report from the annual meeting of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Committee.

Brian Wilkie

(Nov-Dec 2005)



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