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Topic Area : Containing the outbreak of the emerging infectious diseases 


Submitter : Iceland (Participant of 1ST Taiwan WHO Simulation Conference)

in spite of the common perception of an association between migration and the


importation of infectious diseases, there is no systematic association. Communicable diseases are
associated primarily with poverty. Migrants often come from communities affected by war,
conflict or economic crisis and undertake long, exhausting journeys that increase their risks for
diseases that include communicable diseases, particularly measles, and food- and waterborne
diseases. The European Region has a long experience of communicable diseases such as
tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, measles and rubella and has significantly reduced their
burden during economic development, through better housing conditions, access to safe water,
adequate sanitation, efficient health systems and access to vaccines and antibiotics. These diseases
have not, however, been eliminated and still exist in the European Region, independently of
migration. This is also true of vector-borne diseases in the Mediterranean area, such as
leishmaniasis, with outbreaks recently reported in the Syrian Arab Republic. Leishmaniasis is not
transmitted from person to person and can be effectively treated. Typhoid and paratyphoid fever
are also registered in the European region. In the European Union, the vast majority of cases are
related to travelling outside the EU. The risk for importation of exotic and rare infectious agents
into Europe, such as Ebola, Marburg and Lassa viruses or Middle East respiratory syndrome
(MERS), is extremely low. Experience has shown that, when importation occurs, it involves regular
travellers, tourists or health care workers rather than refugees or migrants.
The Chief Epidemiologist for Iceland, appointed by the Medical Director of Health and
operating within the DH, is responsible for health security and public measures against
communicable diseases and other threats to health. Other principal responsibilities are to
organize and coordinate communicable disease control and prevention and immunizations
throughout the country, e.g. by publishing guidelines on how epidemics should be handled,
maintain a register of communicable diseases in order to monitor their spread (through collecting
diagnostic data from laboratories, hospitals and physicians), keeping a register of human use of
antimicrobial drugs that may cause resistance to those drugs, disseminating information on the
spread of communicable diseases, within Iceland and abroad, to physicians and other health
workers, providing advice to physicians and others on communicable disease control, and
supervising communicable disease prevention (e.g. through information and education).
The Minister of Health appoints a committee of seven, the National Committee on
Communicable Diseases (NCCD), for a period of four years at a time. The committee includes
specialists in the fields of communicable diseases, bacteriology, virology, sexually transmitted
diseases and epidemiology/hygiene, and a community health physician and a nurse with specialist
knowledge in infectious disease control. When dealing with matters within the scope of the
Environmental Agency, the Radiation Agency or the Agriculture Authority, representatives of
these bodies attend the meetings of the NCCD, with a right to speak and to propose motions. In
line with its legislative remit, the NCCD creates policy on measures against communicable diseases
and advises health authorities on measures to prevent their spread (Act No. 19/1997).
The MoW and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as the private sector, have
been working together to fight this problem. The Icelandic Red Cross (IRC) has been running a
special ‘mobile clinic’ in the Reykjavik area since October 2009, aimed at reaching marginalized
groups such as homeless people and addicts, to improve their access to wound care, clean needles
and syringes and general information about harm reduction (IRC, 2013a).”
Because containing the outbreak of the emerging infectious diseases is a big issue. Iceland
believes that this problem needs to be solved as fast as possible by cooperation of governments,
pharmaceutical companies, UN agencies, and NGOs, espesialy providing health services that can be
reached marginalized groups such as homeless people and addicts, to improve their access to
wound care, clean needles and syringes and general information about harm reduction. Also
sustainably prevent with give the information and education. Therefore, Iceland will be ready to
cooperate with other delegates to create the most appropriate solution.