Monday, August 20, 2007

West Africa struggles to contain H5N1

From Voice of America, a firsthand look at the difficulties of providing compensation...

"Alex Thiermann, a director at the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, says people who raise animals in sub-Saharan Africa tend to be among the poorest, which makes it hard to convince them to kill their livelihood.

"It is very difficult to explain to them that we need to destroy birds because we worry about a potential pandemic," he said. "They do not have time to worry about the potential. They have so many problems to fight on a daily basis so unless there is a good incentive program where there is an assurance they will not lose anything by reporting, then it is hard to guarantee full participation."

Fowl vendors wait for buyers in a fowl market in Lagos, Nigeria, 06 February 2007Donors have promoted paying farmers as one way to encourage fast reporting. But there have been problems paying farmers for their lost poultry because it is not easy to prove ownership.
Olga Jonas, the World Bank's economic advisor for influenza programs who coordinates bird flu donor giving, says local officials need to identify poultry farmers and inventory their stock to prevent corruption.

"When there is an outbreak, you do not get into a lot of discussion about whether somebody did or did not have the poultry they are now claiming compensation for," she said.
But she admits it is hard to track small producers who live in remote areas. Noncommercial family-owned poultry farming is common in West Africa, where people often live in close contact with their birds"

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