RUBAVU — The governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Burundi through the support offered by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) are stepping up measures to fight against the ‘bird flu’ viral disease.
This was revealed by Ernest Ruzindana, the Director in charge of Planning in the Ministry of Agriculture while officially opening a three days meeting at Serena Kivu hotel.
The meeting brought together experts, agricultural officers, donors and veterinary doctors from the three countries to design ways how the dangerous disease can be prevented from spreading through the great lakes region.
The meeting was sponsored by the Belgian Government and FAO, through its program of prevention against the spread of Bird Flu, which program also advocates for improvement of veterinary medicine in the Great Lakes region.
Ruzindana said that although cases of Bird flu were not yet reported in any of the Great Lakes region countries, prevention measures were inevitable to ensure safety of birds and people in the region. He said this would be achieved by creating teamwork among the veterinary doctors in the region as well as meeting and explaining to residents about the dangers of the disease, and its prevention.
“This meeting is meant to bring together delegates from the three countries to discuss how to prevent Bird Flu, the meeting is also meant to create cooperation among the Veterinary doctors from the three countries who will also share with experts a lot about the disease. We believe by the end of the meeting discussed measures and resolution on prevention against Bird Flu in the Great Lakes will be listed” Ruzindana said.
Jeaninne Uwimana an official from the Burundian Ministry of Agriculture who also headed the Burundian delegation said that her country was worried about the disease due to the fact that the biggest number of Burundians keeps poultry.
“Being an airborne disease, we felt it would reach our country due to the big number of poultry we have.” She said.
Jeaninne thanked the Belgian government and FAO for their support in prevention measures against the disease in Great Lakes region.
“We are very close neighbors, if any of the Great Lakes countries got the disease, there would be high chances of spreading to the others. That’s is why we need to come together to design defensive measures against the dangerous disease which does not only affect birds but also the people them selves” she said.
DRC State Minister in charge of Agriculture and Rural development Ramadan Ali Yiberi said the meeting was a great opportunity which will create a platform for maximum cooperation among the Veterinary Doctors and sharing knowledge especially on hot to identifying the disease.
“This is a new disease which we have heard in other countries, our veterinary doctors have limited knowledge about it, which is the reason why bringing them together to meet experts in a meeting like this can improve their knowledge about the epidemic thus giving them ability to identify and battle against it in case of any outbreaks in the region” he said.
Bird Flu outbreak was first reported 2003 in Vietnam and China which later on spread to other countries including eleven on the African Continent such as Nigeria, Egypt, Niger, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin among other.