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SIPDIS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED DEPT FOR IO/T - BLACKWOOD, HHS/GLOBAL HEALTH AFFAIRS - PARTRIDGE
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PREL, AORC, TBIO, WHO, LT SUBJECT: WHO EXECUTIVE BOARD: LESOTHO'S POSITION ON SMALLPOX AGENDA ITEM
REF: STATE 232766
1. (U) Lesotho's Minister of Health Phooko concurred with USG position regarding WHO Smallpox Agenda Item during January 9 discussion with Ambassador. Following review of talking points (reftel), Dr. Phooko stated that the concern of WHO Regional Committee for Africa was a desire for transparency and inclusivity in research activities. Phooko was especially interested in knowing the names of African experts/scientists who might be part of research teams. ACTION REQUEST: Post requests HHS forward this information to us in a timely manner before the GOL/WHO delegation departs for Geneva o/a January 21.
2. (SBU) Minister Phooko also alluded to the Regional Committee's concern about misuse of existing virus stockpiles in bioterrorism. He indicated that least developed countries were especially vulnerable to potential attacks. At the same time, he agreed that continued research is needed for the development of better diagnostic tools, development of effective anti-viral drugs and production of improved and safer smallpox vaccines.
3. (SBU) Comment: Minister Phooko took the lead for the Africa Regional Committee last year and is expected to be leader during this session also. He is in agreement with the U.S. position and said he would advance it during the upcoming meeting.