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USAID assists Malawi to fight Avian Influenza

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  • USAID assists Malawi to fight Avian Influenza


    USAID assists Malawi to fight Avian Influenza
    Nyasa Times 18 September, 2008 01:34:00

    The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has pumped 470,000 dollars for Malawi to fight Avian influenza.

    USAID and implementing partner AI.COMM recently launched an Avian Influenza (AI) cross-border training program in the districts of Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza and Karonga to help combat the flu which attacks chickens as well as humans.

    Working closely with the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development and the Ministry of Health in Malawi, this capacity-building initiative provides animal health surveillance assistants, community health officers, and other local officials from the key cross-border areas with fundamental knowledge about AI and how to communicate effectively regarding its prevention and control.

    In a media statement issued by US public affairs officer John Warner and US information specialist Mayeso Chirwa, local officials from the key cross border areas and health surveillance assistants are being provided with fundamental knowledge about the air borne disease.

    They are also being grilled on how to communicate effectively to people regarding prevention and control of the deadly disease.
    AI.COMM is part of a worldwide effort funded by the USAID and implemented by the Academy of Educational Development, a Washington-based non-profit organization, to prevent and control the spread of Avian Influenza in the Southern Africa region.

    The effort is part of the U.S. Government’s global emergency response to AI.

    Curt Reintsma, USAID/Malawi Mission Director explains: “Although Avian Influenza has not been reported in Malawi yet, this program helps the Malawian Government prepare for any AI outbreak.”

    “Given that AI could potentially be spread through cross-order trade, it is imperative that border personnel are properly trained to maximize surveillance and understand the importance of its prevention and control,” said Reintsma.

    Through capacity-building, outreach, and distribution of printed materials to animal and health workers, AI.COMM educates the public on high-risk behaviours for contracting AI, practical preventive measures, and how to recognize and respond to cases of bird flu in animals and humans.

    Target audiences include farmers, small-scale poultry producers, consumers of poultry, healthcare workers, veterinary staff, and communities in potential outbreak areas.