Beijing, P.R. China, May 21, 2003-China's Ministry of Health (MOH) plans to build a national epidemic data exchange network as a key tool in protecting people from the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Cisco Systems announced today that it will donate networking equipment and services valued at US$2.6 million (RMB21.48 million) to the MOH, help set up the network and provide further support to China's ongoing efforts to monitor and control the disease.
The creation of a fast, deployable and scalable backbone network will make it possible for the Chinese government to collect and update SARS data more effectively and comprehensively. The real-time data gathered and analyzed will largely enhance the information exchange and decision-making process in fighting SARS.
"Through the help of technology, we'll be able to learn about the progress of the anti-SARS campaign in a timely way. Epidemic status reports will be compiled through E-communications, phone hotlines and emergency calls supported by a stable and rapid-response network," commented Qi Xiaoqiu, Director of Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Health. "We believe that China will conquer SARS in the foreseeable future," he added.
The network will connect the MOH headquarters, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and provincial prevention centers. In addition, one province will be selected for Cisco to support building a pilot network covering the provincial prevention center, two cities and four counties. A three-year service, installation and maintenance period provided by Cisco partners are also part of the donation.
"We are encouraged and motivated by both the government's endeavors and the hard work of so many medical workers dedicated to saving lives and eliminating the SARS threat. This is clearly an important time for collaboration, and we want to offer what technology solutions we can, as well as share our expertise working with epidemic control centers such as the U.S. CDC," said Jia-Bin Duh, President of Cisco China.
China aims to create a national emergency response system (ERS) within a four-level epidemic prevention and control structure, encompassing MOH headquarters and the CDC at the national level and prevention centers at the provincial, city and county levels. Cisco's contributions will be designed to meet the urgent requirements of observing and assembling SARS data, as well as to serve as a model for the construction of future ERS systems.