In line with the FAO/OIE Global Strategy for the Progressive Control of Highly Pathologenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), this project has been developed to provide support to the regional grouping of Eastern and Southern Africa countries to strengthen emergency preparedness against the eventuality of HPAI being introduced into this currently free area.
The emergency assistance is designed to be preventive as well as proactive. Where required, National Action Plans for the Prevention and Control of HPAI will be developed, as has been done in projects covering other regions. Experience indicates that the veterinary services in many of the Regional countries involved are not well-structured to meet the challenge of controlling epidemic diseases. Early warning networks, emergency response, timely reporting and feedback, the epidemiology of wild bird-domestic bird interactions and diagnostic capacity in the face of an emerging epidemic are often weak. Government compensation for losses is rarely available, nor is the emergency response system, needed to support stamping out exercises. Obtaining clear and concise baseline data and information on migratory flyways, the role of wild bird species, disease mapping, and the epidemiology of AI are matters of basic importance that need to be strengthened to prepare for potential outbreaks.
Therefore the primary objective of the proposed project is to strengthen the capacity for generating and sharing HPAI disease intelligence and using this to mount emergency preparedness planning against the eventuality of HPAI being introduced into the region, specifically in relation to migration of and trade in wild birds.
To accomplish this objective, secondary objectives will entail:
- Generating an understanding of migratory bird movement into and within the region and the potential for their contact with domestic poultry.
- Building public awareness of the issues relating to the risks.
- Strengthening HPAI field surveillance and laboratory support for diagnosis.
- Establishing information and technology network linkages with other regions through GLEWS, OFFLU and PACE in the global system for HPAI surveillance.