In furtherance of these objectives the following activities have so far been implemented:
Epidemiology and wild bird sampling workshop
This five-day workshop was held in Lilongwe, Malawi in April 2006 and the following topics were covered: epidemiological techniques, disease surveillance in domestic poultry and both free-ranging and captive avian wildlife, disease monitoring, emergency preparedness and biosecurity, data management and analysis, HPAI virus interactions between domestic poultry and migratory birds. The workshop was jointly conducted by technical personnel from CIRAD, Royal Veterinary College, Avian Demography Unit – Each of the following countries was represented by two participants – a veterinary epidemiologist and an expert from Wildlife/Natural Resources Institution/Department:- Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Liberia and Swaziland sent one participant (Veterinary Epidemiologist) each. Although invited, the following countries did not participate in the workshop: Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Assessment and Procurement of Country Needs
During the project inception workshop it was clear from the country reports presented that project beneficiary countries were in urgent need of certain materials, laboratory reagents, equipment and training assistance to enable them to carry out effective Avian Flu surveillance. Therefore immediately after the workshop and based on needs lists submitted by countries certain of the items have been procured and supplied include key diagnostic reagents, personal protective equipment, sample boxes, post mortem kits and sprayers.
Training on laboratory diagnostic techniques
A five day training workshop was organized and held at the Central Veterinary Laboratory, Kabete and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Nairobi, Kenya from 17-21 July 2006 in collaboration with FAO. The Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSV), assisted on aspects of laboratory level training in the identification of HPAI.
The objective of the HPAI diagnostic techniques training was to strengthen the capacity of Veterinary Services in the implementation their Emergency Preparedness Plans for the prevention, surveillance and control of HPAI. Specifically the training was attended by 26 technical laboratory personnel from 18 English-speaking African countries namely: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The subjects covered included theoretical aspects of HPAI laboratory diagnosis, general virological and serological techniques as well molecular biology diagnostic procedures.
Other Project Activities
Apart from the above project staff have also assisted countries to refine their national Avian flu preparedness and contingency plans as well as involvement in AI outbreak response and participation in national, regional and international Avian Flu conferences and workshops.