EAC vets assess bird flu preps

Veterinary experts from the five partner states of East African Community (EAC) and United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs convened in Kigali to assess the region’s preparedness to fight Avian Influenza (Bird Flu). According to Timothy Wesonga, Livestock Officer in the EAC, the three day workshop will explore the achievements and experiences realised in areas of fighting and preventing the flu.

Veterinary experts from the five partner states of East African Community (EAC) and United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs convened in Kigali to assess the region’s preparedness to fight Avian Influenza (Bird Flu).

According to Timothy Wesonga, Livestock Officer in the EAC, the three day workshop will explore the achievements and experiences realised in areas of fighting and preventing the flu.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East Africa, Robert Ssali, said that commercial poultry production is becoming a very attractive income generating venture, but is affected by health consciousness by consumers.

He said the region is under a looming threat of the flu which has already appeared in Sudan, a country neighbouring EAC partner states.

“Our region as you ready know, is under threat because it has been reported in Sudan, it’s a cause of concern,” Ssali said.

He added that the best approach is ‘early detection, early response’ and that an integrated plan is necessary to help the public be aware of the situation.

According to the officials, the updated plan will contribute to the socio-economic welfare and public health in the EAC by minimizing the impact of Avian Influenza (AI).

This regional project had earlier attracted the EU fund at a cost of €3m for three years, following its launch on 5 December, 2008.

The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has dominated the global scene since incursions started in poultry and human in Asia in 2003 and spread rapidly to cover other continents.

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