US commends Nigeria on combating Bird Flu

The United State has commended the Nigerian government's efforts aimed at containing the spread of Bird Flu (Avian Influenza) diseases in the country.

US Consul General, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins, gave the commendation in Ibadan, South West Nigeria during the opening of a two day training the trainer's workshop for veterinarians, laboratory technicians, and surveillance specialists drawn from Southern part of Nigeria.

The workshop organised by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Nigerian government was aimed at inculcating effective disease control techniques, on participants particularly the outbreak of (Bird Flu

" I commend the government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for the swiftness in taking steps to contain the current outbreak. They and Development Partners have come together to find a way to work together for this cause", the US envoy said.

Preventive Measures
He emphasised the need to scale up measures on Prevention, Detection and Containment, stressing that continuous international partnership will go a long way at containing the spread of the disease, thereby enhancing bio security.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Akinwumi Adeshina, in his remarks noted that the disease has been contained to its barest minimum in the country.

"We are taking every measure necessary to ensure that public safety is protected and that the poultry industry is not significantly affected by the spread of the disease. I can assure you that Nigeria is managing the recent outbreak with strong commitment and determination", the minister explained.

Represented by a senior official in the ministry, Dr. Ademola Majasan, the minister said the training comes at the right time , when the ministry is planning to reactivate the national disease surveillance network

The first phase of the training took place in Kano State last week where about 80 participants from the Northern part of the country participated.

Comprehensive Surveillance
The resurgence of Bird flu in January, first reported in two states- Lagos and kano, necessitated the refresher training programme.

As of today 18 states have confirmed the disease and a total of 322 poultry farms have been affected nationwide, with Kano having highest number of 156.

" I have continued to monitor the progress of the disease through the on-going comprehensive surveillance and our analysis indicates that the absolute number of suspicious from states is on the decrease", the minister added.

The last outbreak of the disease in Nigeria occurred between 2006 to July 2008. The disease affected mainly the poultry farms, which affected 25 states and the FCT.

This led to depopulation of more than 1.2 million birds leading to destruction of 118,183 eggs and payment of about 631 million naira in compensation to farmers.

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