EU Boosts Avian Influenza Surveillance in East Africa

By Park Sae-jin Posted : August 26, 2009, 17:02 Updated : August 26, 2009, 17:02

The European Community (EU) has donated seven four-wheel drive vehicles to the East African Community (EAC) to boost the regional avian influenza surveillance activities.

The donation is part of the EAC Regional Avian Influenza Preparedness and Response project that aims at contributing to the socio-economic welfare and public health in EAC by minimizing the impact of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

A statement from EAC said on Tuesday the project is funded by the EU and co-implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO), Nairobi office.

EAC Secretary General Juma Mwapachu said EAC animal disease control strategy is based on early detection and early response so that diseases are contained at source.

"The challenge is therefore to ensure that our disease surveillance systems are kept on alert all the time. Transfer of information, movement of rapid response teams and transporting of samples are very important in disease control," noted Mwapachu.

He further noted that for effective disease control, passive and active surveillance must be carried out and all these disease control activities require transport.

In this context, the EAC secretary general expressed the community's appreciation to the EU for the providing funds for the acquisition of the seven vehicles.

He said this approach requires that the general public must be informed and on the lookout for disease incidences and that disease incidences must be reported to the appropriate authorities for further investigation.

The three year project is funded to the tune of 3 million euros. EAC is to receive 1 million euro while 1.68 million euro isto be channeled through FAO. FAO will work closely with EAC Secretariat to implement the project in the five Partner States.

The secretary general said each partner state was to receive a vehicle to boost its transport situation in the respective Animal Health Departments.

Director of Productive and Social Sector Dr. Caleb Weggoro said the overall goal of animal production in EAC is to produce enough quality animals and animal produce to match the requirements for the rapidly increasing population and create surpluses for export.

He said disease occurrence in the region is a direct obstacle to this regional goal and therefore robust disease surveillance and control strategies must be put in place.
By Li Xian (XFN)

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