Mon, Dec 29, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Cabinet plans to set up new SARS units

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Anticipating that SARS might become a recurring seasonal disease, the Cabinet is planning to set up two new units under the Center for Disease Control (CDC) -- an information technology room (資訊室) and an examination and research center (檢驗中心).

The proposed units are intended to combat SARS as well as other viruses.

According to a Cabinet official who asked not to be named, the two new units would be established on the premise that the total number of CDC employees must not increase.

"With the government making restructuring efforts, setting up the two new units is only possible if the total number of CDC employees stands at between 800 and 900," the official said.

To that end, the CDC would combine two of its existing divisions: the division of laboratory research and development and the division of quarantine and intervention activities.

According to the plan, the information technology team would be reorganized as the information technology room. Among the missions of the information technology room would be to use information technology to establish an epidemic prevention network and reporting system.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet is also planning to add two new units to the Department of Health (DOH): a department of international cooperation and a department of medical development.

The international cooperation team would meet with change too, getting reorganized as the department of international cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Taichung office of the DOH would become the department of medical development and take over all service-oriented operations of the department of medical affairs.

The official said that the establishment of the proposed four units is not at odds with the Cabinet's restructuring project because it is necessary to set up new organizations while abolishing or combining old ones.

"Our theory is simple -- downsize existing agencies that are deemed insufficient or obsolete and then add new ones or combine old ones to improve government efficiency," he said.

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