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09.03.2006 Health

Task force set up to monitor bird flu in Eastern region


Koforidua, March 09, GNA- The Eastern Region Coordinating Council has established regional and district task force to create awareness and keep surveillance on the outbreak of Avian Influenza in the region. Ms Susana Mensah, Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, announced this when addressing the opening session of a day's seminar on the Avain Influenza or Bird flu disease at Koforidua on Wednesday.

District Chief Executives (DCEs), District Directors of Agriculture, District Co-ordinators of National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and security agencies attended the seminar. Ms Mensah said Mr Yaw Barimah, Regional Minister would chair the Regional Task Force while DCEs chaired the District Task Force. She asked the District Chief Executives to demand daily reports from their District Veterinary Officers to be sent to the Regional Task Force.

Ms Mensah said the public had a role to play in the surveillance of the disease.

Mr Seth Ahyia, Eastern Regional Co-ordinator of NADMO, warned that when information on the Bird Flu was not well managed, it could lead to the collapse of the poultry and hospitality industry.

He pointed out that prevention of the disease was not the responsibility of the Veterinary Service or the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) alone but the responsibility of all and sundry to assist in the fight to prevent any disaster.

Mr Ahyia said vehicles belonging to NADMO in the districts had been placed at the disposal of the District Task Force.

Mr G. K. Oklu, Eastern Regional Director of MOFA, explained that the seminar was to enable the region put in place the necessary machinery to monitor the flu.

Dr Francis Konadu-Ampratwum of the Veterinary Services of MOFA advised poultry farmers to report to the nearest veterinary officer when their birds start dying in large numbers and urged them not to touch the dead birds.

He advised people to report to the nearest veterinary officer for confirmation when their mature birds develop swollen combs, wattles and edema around the eyes.

Dr Konadu-Ampratwum said matured fowls that had bird flu disease developed diarrhoea and the last eggs laid after the onset of the disease were frequently without shells. 09 March 06