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  • Tanzanian Intensifies Campaign Against Avian Flu

    Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Afric...7-04-voa42.cfm

    Tanzanian Intensifies Campaign Against Avian Flu (Part 5/5)
    By Douglas Mpuga
    Washington, DC
    04 July 2008

    listen to interview on bird flu - Download (MP3) audio clip
    listen to interview on bird flu - Listen (MP3) audio clip

    A senior official of the Tanzanian ministry of health says the country will remain vigilant in the fight against avian influenza, especially because it lies on a migratory bird route.

    Dr. Mohamed Ali Mohamed is an epidemiologist at Tanzania’s ministry of health in Dar es Salaam. He told VOA English to Africa reporter Douglas Mpuga that Tanzania and other countries in the region are at risk for avian flu because they lie on a route taken by migratory birds from Europe and Asia every year.

    He said the government is careful about importing poultry products from other countries, but the risk cannot be eliminated.

    “But we are prepared in case of any (avian flu) threat or outbreak. We work as a team with other ministries in this effort to combat the avian flu threat,” he said.

    Dr. Mohamed noted that Tanzania is trying hard to sensitize the people about this threat. “We have an avian flu awareness plan. We work with other agencies like the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). In fact, UNICEF is the lead agency in this (awareness) campaign. We even have conducted local traditional plays in different regions of the country to make sure people understand the risk of avian influenza.”

    He is not concerned that local poultry farmers might not report avian flu cases for fear of losing their birds. “In our response plans we are discussing compensation plans to poultry farmers in case of an outbreak. This will encourage people to report any cases (of avian flu).”

    Dr. Mohamed said the government is now in the process of asking for help from different organizations to create the fund. “ We have got some assistance from the AU (African Union) Avian Influenza Preparedness Fund. He mentioned the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and the World Health organization (WHO) as the other organizations that have promised help in case of an outbreak.

    He said Tanzania was the first east African country to receive training in the detection and prevention of avian influenza. “We have the personnel, protective gear and WHO has promised drugs.”

  • #2
    Re: Tanzanian Intensifies Campaign Against Avian Flu

    Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-07-04-voa35.cfm

    Tanzania Devises Plan to Cope with Avian Flu Outbreak (Part 1/5)
    By Douglas Mpuga
    Washington, DC
    04 July 2008

    listen to interview on bird flu - Download (MP3) audio clip
    listen to interview on bird flu - Listen (MP3) audio clip

    Tanzania has created an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan to deal with avian flu. The plan is supported by the country’s development partners, such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    Michael Mwasekaga is the avian influenza coordinator for CDC Tanzania. He told VOA English to Africa reporter Douglas Mpuga that avian flu is a serious threat, with 11 African countries reporting the disease in animals and three countries – Nigeria, Djibouti and Egypt – reporting it in humans.

    Mwasekaga said while Tanzania is not yet affected, the disease could easily be spread through trade and tourism and by migratory wild birds from infected areas of East Asia. He said, “Introduction and spread of avian flu is a serious threat to Tanzania socially, economically and health wise because of its impact on food safety and security.”

    He said bird flu could ruin the lives of the rural poor who depend on chicken sales for their livelihood. “But more so because the disease could have devastating effect to people who are already suffering from HIV/AIDS and could overburden the health system that is trying to cope with other, more common diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and others.”

    Mwasekaga noted that the US government, through the CDC and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is working closely with Tanzania’s Ministry of Livestock Development and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. He said part of this cooperation involves US government support for the strengthening of avian flu testing capabilities in both animals and humans by equipping the Center of Veterinary Laboratory and the National Influenza Center.

    Mwasekaga said the US government has awarded a four-year grant worth US $ 800,000 to Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for the surveillance and detection of avian flu.

    The US government is also supporting training on preparedness and rapid response. Mwasekaga said, “We support the strengthening of coordination mechanism at the national level through the National Influenza Multisectoral Taskforce Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan. I think the goal here is to build local capacity over time.”

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    • #3
      Re: Tanzanian Intensifies Campaign Against Avian Flu

      Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Afric...7-04-voa40.cfm

      WHO Official Calls for Regional Approach to Avian Flu in East Africa (Part 3/5)
      By Douglas Mpuga
      Washington, DC
      04 July 2008

      listen to interview on bird flu - Download (MP3) audio clip
      listen to interview on bird flu - Listen (MP3) audio clip

      A World Health Organization (WHO) official has called for a regional approach in addressing the risk of avian influenza in east Africa. Rita Njau is the World Health Organization’s acting director of preventive services in Tanzania.

      Njau told VOA English to Africa reporter Douglas Mpuga that east Africa’s major bodies of water contribute to the risk of an avian flu outbreak. “The threat is quite real…. Migratory birds take this path twice a year as they migrate either from the southern or northern hemisphere. So we do have a potential threat” (of an outbreak), she said.

      She said in 2006, when there was an avian flu pandemic in East Asia, WHO took the lead in setting up a task force with relevant institutions within Tanzania to address the threat. “[The WHO] also worked with other United Nations (UN) agencies and a committee was set up to discuss how to prepare and handle such potential emergencies.” She added, “There were actually two parallel task forces ready to tackle the situation as it would arise.”

      Njau said WHO has contingency plans and has learned from what happened in Sudan, where there was an avian flu case. She stressed the importance of getting information to the people so that they know what to do in case of an outbreak.

      Njau said more needs to be done about getting east African countries to cooperate in efforts to prevent avian flu. “I don’t think we have done as much as we should. There are no concrete plans for east Africa as a region. But there are plans to look at the issue (avian flu) as an east African problem. These plans involve looking at it holistically as a region problem instead of looking at it country by country.”

      The World Health organization and other UN agencies have provided technical and financial support to the countries in the region. Most of this support is in technical expertise and testing and detection kits.

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      • #4
        Re: Tanzanian Intensifies Campaign Against Avian Flu

        Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/Afric...7-04-voa41.cfm

        Tanzanian Poultry Farmers Urged to Protect Against Avian Flu (Part 4/5)
        By Douglas Mpuga
        Washington, DC
        04 July 2008

        listen to interview on bird flu - Download (MP3) audio clip
        listen to interview on bird flu - Listen (MP3) audio clip


        The Tanzanian government has called on poultry farmers to learn about avian influenza and adopt basic hygiene practices to protect against it.

        Dr. Mmeta Yongolo is Tanzania’s national coordinator for avian influenza. He told VOA English to Africa reporter Douglas Mpuga the government has done surveys at different poultry sites and in livestock and wild birds and has found nothing of concern.

        Dr. Yongolo said the government is conducting an awareness campaign but added, “We have not yet assessed the impact of this campaign. We intend to involve the poultry farmers, specifically those with ‘backyard chickens.’”

        He said people with ‘backyard chickens’ are targeted because more than half of Tanzania’s 50 million chickens are kept in people’s back yards. “This is the group we have concentrated on through our district officials. We have targeted especially districts that we think are more at risk.”

        Explaining the ban on importing poultry products into Tanzania, Dr. Yongolo said it was never total but targets only those countries thought to present a potential risk to Tanzania. He said the ban does not extend to Tanzania’s neighbors. “Our borders (East Africa) are porous and products come in and go out without detection.”

        He said the East African Community is coordinating control and detection efforts in the region. “We have had several meetings, and there is the (Avian Flu) East African Community Taskforce, of which I am a member.”

        Dr. Yongolo expressed appreciation to donors that have helped Tanzania in the fight against avian flu, especially in the areas of detection and testing.

        He singled out United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which he said has helped train Tanzanians in diagnosis.

        He said the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) has helped train medical personnel, and the University of Minnesota has partnered with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health in surveying and screening birds.

        Yongolo said other UN agencies, such as the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have also been helpful. “FAO have been helping in diagnosis and UNICEF has been supporting a lot on public awareness. This (awareness campaign) has been going for almost a year and half.”

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