AfDB Approves Emergency Grant to help Nigeria Fight Avian Influenza
Tunis, 5 April, 2006 – The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank on Wednesday in Tunis approved a grant of US$500,000 dollars as emergency assistance in support of the Nigerian Government’s effort to combat Avian Influenza in 2006.
The grant will be used to finance the campaign by strengthening national capacity to maintain functional laboratories and prepare long-term strategic plans and programmes to contain and control the spread of the pandemic.
The assistance will finance two components of the campaign covering human and animal health. The Animal Health component will be supported with a lump sum of US$ 300,000 and will provide for the:
- Supply of chemicals and equipment for control and prevention of flu spread;
- Provision of protective clothing for veterinary personnel and flu control teams
- Purchase of vaccines.
- Awareness campaigns and information dissemination to farmers
The Human Health component will be allocated a lump sum of US$ 200,000 and the activities will include the strengthening of human disease surveillance and diagnostic capacity.
The focus will be on:
- The development and dissemination of surveillance materials, and training of health staff in surveillance and laboratory standard operating procedures;
- Improvement of communication and networking between Flu Laboratories, including veterinary and public health laboratories;
- Development of laboratory guidelines and data system for pandemic influenza;
Dissemination of data management tools for influenza surveillance within Nigeria.
Nigerian officials will work in collaboration with the African Union-Inter-Africa Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), which has been designated by the Commission of the African Union as its lead technical agency for the avian influenza threat in Africa and the World Health Organization - Africa Region (WHO-AFRO) in the implementation of the activities.
The outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of the avian Influenza was reported in Nigeria in January 2006. The outbreak was reported to have spread to six of the country’s 3 states is known to be moving south and could spread to the remaining thirty states, and the neighboring countries of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Benin and Togo.
Since the end of 2003, there has been an evolving epidemic of the H5N1 in East and South Asia where over 150 million chickens have either died from the disease or have been culled. The total economic loss in the region due to the flu is estimated at nearly US$ 10 billion. About 150 persons have, worldwide, contracted the deadly H5N1 virus from direct contact with infected domestic birds and about half of them have died from H5N1 respiratory infection.