Sudan Gets AfDB Emergency Grant to Contain Avian Influenza
Tunis, 20 June 2006 – The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a grant of US$ 500,000 as emergency assistance to support the Sudanese government’s initiatives on preparedness to combat avian influenza in 2006.
The Board approved the assistance on 16 June, with a view to helping the country strengthen national capacity to maintain functional laboratories and prepare long-term strategic plans and programmes to contain and control any outbreak of the pandemic.
The Animal Health component of the emergency assistance will be supported with a lump sum of US$ 300,000. It will provide for the supply of chemicals and equipment for control and prevention of flu; provision of protective clothing for veterinary personnel and flu control teams; purchase of vaccines and awareness campaigns and information dissemination to farmers
The Human Health component will be allocated a lump sum of US$ 200,000. The activities will include strengthening of human disease surveillance and diagnostic capacity. The focus will be put 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 systems for pandemic influenza and the dissemination of data management tools for influenza surveillance within the Sudan.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in May 2006 confirmed reports of the outbreak of avian influenza in Sudan. This prompted the government to take steps to strengthen relevant national institutions to combat the disease. Sudan is surrounded by nine countries (Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Zaire, Chad, Libya and the Central African Republic). Sudan, along with other east African Rift Valley nations is home to millions of migratory birds that flock around the Nile Basin during the European winter, thus exposing these countries to high risk. Besides, combating animal diseases such as the avian flu in a country such as the Sudan will be an enormous challenge as a result of the land area, poor infrastructure resulting from many years of civil unrest, and current level of human displacement.
The assistance for the animal health component will be channeled through 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. The emergency assistance for the human health component will be channeled through the World Health Organization - Africa Region (WHO-AFRO), which has a well-established network in sub-Saharan Africa.
About half of some 150 people who contracted the deadly H5N1 virus are known to have died since the outbreak was first reported in some Asian counties in 2003.
The ADB began operations in Sudan 1971. To date, its commitments in the country stand at US$ 407.39 million in 38 operations.