Vigilance & Prevention Keep Pakistan Bird Flu–Free

PAKISTAN - The country has been free of avian flu for four years.
calendar icon 24 June 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

Strict vigilance and proper preventive measures has helped Pakistan gain 'bird flu-free' status since 2007, reports Pakistan Observer, but a recent outbreak of the infection in a neighbouring country demands extreme caution and mandatory preventive measures in the country.

Professor Dr Muhammad Akram Munir, Project Director of the National Program for the Control and Prevention of Avian Influenza (PCAPI) has addressed a seminar organised by PACPI, Federal Ministry of Health, Association of Health Journalists – Pakistan and UNICEF, when he said avian influenza or bird flu does not exist in Pakistan.

The National Program for the Control and Prevention of Avian Influenza started at a cost of 1180.2 million rupees (PKR) but he said it has turned poultry industry in the country into one of the best in terms of hygiene practices as well as value addition.

He commented: "Ours is much better than India, Bangladesh and even Iran."

Dr Akram Munir said that during past four years, focus had been to improve and scale-up avian influenza surveillance, reporting and capacity-building of poultry farmers and veterinary staff.

Steps were also taken to ensure protection of the workers associated with poultry farms and poultry business against the flu virus in general as all Pakistanis are at risk of contracting the infection. People at grass root levels were involved and sensitised, along with farmers who were trained to prevent the infection followed by a mechanism developed to combat any outbreak of avian influenza (H5) peculiar to birds.

Dr Akram Munir added: "Between July 2007 and March 2011, 10 well equipped labs, 40 Regional Surveillance Centers and 66 Rapid Response Units were established to ensure that country retained its bird flu-free status."

He said 41 vehicles and 40 motor-bikes were also provided to the provinces to help concerned staff gain easy access to any affected area as during this period, 96 outbreaks were handled and 400,000 birds were culled and properly disposed of.

According to Pakistan Observer, Dr Akram Munir added that, in its efforts to ensure avian influenza-free status, Pakistan has been in constant contact with the international community.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.
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