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 September 27, 2003
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New WHO Chief Proposes Epidemic SWAT Team
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The newly installed chief of the World Health Organization says one of his first jobs will be to recruit and train a team of epidemiologists to battle global disease outbreaks like SARS, The New York Times reports.

Dr. Jong-Wook Lee took over as WHO's director-general on Monday, replacing Gro Harlem Brundtland. The South Korean says the new team will be modeled after the U.S. Epidemic Intelligence Service, whose members travel the globe to help stem outbreaks like SARS, AIDS and Ebola.

The new program would represent a significant change for the WHO, which has traditionally focused more on gathering independent experts and providing advice to its 192 member nations.

The United Nations agency hopes to start with an initial class of 10 health care workers, mostly from developing countries, which would eventually grow to a class of 40 every year. Each participant would have to be under age 35.

Lee says he's confident that foundations and other sources he's recruited will foot the estimated $7 million bill to train the first two classes.


-- Scott Roberts and John Dillon

Copyright � 2003 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

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