Friday, November 28, 2008

More media coverage of CARE Bangladesh's AI work

CARE Bangladesh continues to build NGO capacity through awareness raising workshops and the The New Nation reported this from a recent workshop:

"The speakers urged all concerned government and non-government organisations as well as poultry bird farmers should work together to protect this potential sector from any adverse impact.

Besides, they said, focus should be given on creating awareness among the grassroots people side by side with intensifying inter-departmental coordination to check bird flue.

Local unit of Mohila Sanghati Parishad (MSP) and CARE- Bangladesh jointly arranged the workshop styled "Influenza NGO Network" at the conference hall of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The speakers said that measures should be taken to gear up the activities of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and other law enforcing agencies to check smuggling of chicks and eggs into the country from neighbouring India.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (Education and Development) Satyendra Nath Sarker, Training Officer of Department of Agriculture Extension Dr Ittefaqul Azad, District Livestock Officer Khairul Alam and Journalists Mustafizur Rahman Khan Alam and Akbarul Hassan Millat addressed the workshop as guest speakers with MSP president Shahnaj Begum in the chair.

They said steps should be taken to impart motivational training to the poultry farmers, the concerned officers and employees of the Livestock Department and other law enforcers to check any kind adverse impact in this sector.

They said effective steps should be taken to prevent entry of any chick or poultry bird into the country from India.

Owners of the poultry hatcheries, they said, should also be brought under the close supervision and monitoring network of the Department of Livestock.

They also suggested involvement of religious leaders' in creating mass awareness, enforcement of bio-security in laboratory for bird flue test, ensuring availability of one-day chicks at reasonable price at home and raising inter-departmental coordination.

Great work CARE Bangladesh!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What will be the results of the Sharm El Sheikh?

I have finally found a website where they've posted all the presentations from the 6th International Ministerial Conferenceon Avian and Pandemic Influenza in Sharm El Sheikh, including the presentation from our own Dr. Zeinab!

David Nabarro's opening address layed out three priorities:
"1. Ensure that the world is ready to cope with diseases that can trigger a pandemic or
other surprising health events
2. Sustain efforts to control HPAI, especially in poultry; and – eventually – to
eradicate it
3. Initiate longer term action in response to infectious diseases that emerge at the
interface between animals and humans, within different ecosystems, that are
capable of causing severe damage and affecting livelihoods"

These are essentially CARE's strategic focus areas as well, with our efforts being focused on effective models at the community level that contribute to these goals. The third goal is still the most abstract but an important turning point as we start to achieve some results in controlling the virus - we have to build long term systems to detect and prevent emerging infectious diseases early on.

This is one of the main reasons CARE is focused on building effective models of community-based surveillance rather than just focusing on increasing awareness of the current H5N1 risk. The surveillance models that we pilot can be effective for identifying events of public health significance from a broad category of threats.

Unfortunately some of the links to the documents at the bottom of the web page are not working. I'm especially interested in reading "Contributing to One World, One Health " which is the joint document from FAO, WHO, UNICEF and WB outlining the new strategy for emerging infectious diseases. Another document I have a copy of myself but cannot access online, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and beyond: the FAO response, is a good read as well. I'll continue to check back and let you know when these links are working again

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CARE partners with ADPC for training: Community-Based Management of AHI in Asia

I had the opoprtunity this November to help facilitate the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center's pilot training workshop on community management of AHI in Bangkok. The training including staff from many NGOs and CBOs in the region and a contingent of CARE staff, including Peexiong Gniachong from Lao PDR, Robert DeGroot from CARE Indonesia, Jacquelyn Pinat from CARE Cambodia, and Mai Nguyen and Chi Nguyen from CARE Vietnam. I am certainly indebted to all of them for their help and guidance in presenting CARE's AI work in Southeast Asia.

The workshop covered methods for surveillance, biosecurity, behavior change communication, participatory action research, and emergency preparedness and response. Participants found the workshop helpful, not only from the practical tools and skills included in the materials, but also from sharing experiences and lessons learned with each other. Participants formed "energizer teams" each day and made sure things were never dull. CARE staff blew away the competition during one event - a race to get eggs and chickens at the market while demonstrating healthy behaviors.

This workshop was born out of a partnership between ADPC, CARE, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Rescue Committee, the Academy for Educational Development, and the Kyeema Foundation.

Given CARE's innovative work on community-based surveillance, CARE was asked to develop the training on surveillance methods, giving me the opportunity, along with my colleagues from each country office, to highlight the work of CARE Vietnam, CARE Cambodia, CARE Lao PDR, and CARE Indonesia in applying different surveillance models to detect and respond to AHI.

The pilot concluded at the end of November and the materials are undergoing a revision and refinement process for the first of what we hope will be many trainings in the region. The next training will be held in Bangkok in early December, with CARE's own Jacquelyn Pinat facilitating the training on surveillance methods. We wish her luck and know she will do an excellent job representing CARE.

The materials and resources from the finalized training should be available on ADPC's website following the December workshop. Please stay tuned to hear about Jacquelyn's experience at the second workshop and for updated materials from ADPC.

The Daily Star reports on CARE Bangladesh's AI project

CARE Bangladesh, working with Academy for Educational Development (AED), is building NGO capacity on avian influenza through their project "Civil Society Organisations Network Initiatives for Avian Influenza (bird flu)”. Their most recent workshop was reported on by the Daily Star.

The workshop included presentations by the Department of Livestock, FAO and our own Avian Influenza Coordinator, Dr Quazi Md Emdadul Huque! Great work CARE Bangladesh.

Saying thanks to the NGOs working in avian and pandemic flu

Michael Coston, who writes the popular blog Avian Flu Diary, gave thanks and shout outs to people and institutions around the world working to prevent and mitigate an influenza pandemic. CARE, Save the Children and the Red Cross were the three NGOs he called out!

"As we head into this short Thanksgiving Holiday week it is a good time to give thanks to those who are out there, trying to make a difference in this battle against the pandemic flu threat. You may know some of these people by name, and some by the organizations they represent, while others you may not be aware of at all...So, in no particular order, a tip of the hat and a world of thanks go to...There are also many NGO's, or non-governmental agencies, like American Red Cross, CARE, and Save The Children that are working to prevent or prepare for a pandemic as well.

(Each of the aforementioned organizations has a pandemic flu page: Red Cross, CARE, Save The Children.) "

Thanks for the the recognition Michael!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Indonesia says 17 ill patients in Sulawesi not H5N1

If you've been following the news lately you may have seen reports of 17 people being monitored (and hospitalized) for possible H5N1 infection in Makasar, Sulawesi. A spokeswoman from the ministry of health announced today that the test results were negative. No other details, however, were released.

Reports such as these are very important for NGOs to stay alerted to as a small cluster of infections may one day be the starting point of a pandemic.

For the full story please visit Reuters:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CARE Egypt presents on behalf of CARE International & NGOs at the 6th International Ministerial AHI conference in Sharm El-Sheikh

Governement ministries and donors recently convened at the Sixth International Ministerial Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. This annual conference is held to review progress and pledgede future funding and action. This year, the conferences aims were stated as:

"1. Encouraging urgent and continued relevant actions by governments, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to build long-term capacity to confront the spread of avian influenza and to prepare for a potential human pandemic.
2. Introducing and examining medium-term strategies for control of avian and pandemic influenza and, more broadly, on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases at the animal-human ecosystem interface and considering options for their implementation, and
3. Reviewing the use of international funding for HPAI control and pandemic preparedness during 2007-8, and assessing the needs for additional resources in 2009. Countries and donors will have the opportunity to pledge additional funds for support to nations as they seek to confront avian influenza and prepare for a pandemic." (

CARE was invited by UNICEF to present on Challenges and Promising Practices in Communication: Facilitating Community Action to Prevent Avian Influenza

Dr. Zeinab Heada from CARE Egypt did a fantastic job of delivering the key messages from CARE's experience about the role of NGOs. Dr Zeinab shared experiences from CARE's work in Southeast Asia, noting the importance of community participation, gender and poverty as key factors in our forming our approach. Dr Zeinab spoke on 4 key factors in effective communications and community programs for AI:

1. Targeting resources
2. Participation
3. Hollistic technical support to communities
4. Using a lens of gender and poverty

Lora Wuennenberg, Country Director of CARE Egypt reported,

"It was especially refreshing to be able to talk about real situations of people in the midst of many theoretical presentations. One of the co-presenters from Thailand from our session on community mobilization and communication, also recognized CARE as a key partners for community outreach in Thailand."

Great job CARE Egypt!

CARE works with government to respond to HPAI outbreak in Lao PDR

In a recent outbreak of HPAI in Sayabouli District, Sayabouli Province in Lao PDR, CARE has been working closely with government partners in outbreak response, including the following activities:

-Broadcasting information avian influenza prevention via loud speaker to every morning and evening at both Nator and Simeuang markets and distributing IEC (information, education and communication) materials.

Radio & Television
- Ensuring provincial radio and television are using IEC materials for daily broadcasts
- Writing updates on the current situation for announcement on provincial radio

Community awareness activities
- Conducting awareness raising activities in yellow zone villages
- Conducting community awareness activities in 5 schools in the red zone

- CARE has provided their truck for use in transportation of dead poultry (appropriate biosecurity measures are being followed)

Surveillance and reporting
- CARE staff are looking for and reporting any additional poultry die offs as they conduct awareness raising activities in communities and markets and encouraging market traders and community members to report

Community members and traders are appreciative and interested in information. Some of the questions being asked include:

- How do you prevent AI?
- Can we still eat eggs?
- When can we resume normal trading?
- Does AI spread to other mammals?
- Where was the first H5N1 virus found? How did it spread to Laos?
- When will the virus disappear from Laos?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New case study on CARE's work in avian and pandemic influenza preparedness

Greetings from CARE USA Headquarters!

It’s been a while since we did an avian and pandemic influenza update, but we have recently completed 3 case studies that chronicle the successes, lessons learned and experiences of the AI programs of different CARE country offices that we will be sharing with you over the coming weeks.

The first documents CARE Nicaragua’s experiences: “Championing Preparedness: A Case Study of NGO Leadership in Public Health Preparedness for Avian and Pandemic Influenza.” This case study charts the evolution of CARE Nicaragua’s AI preparation strategy from developing a preparation plan to protect CARE activities and staff during an AI outbreak to playing a critical role in multi-sectoral pandemic preparedness training on both national and regional levels. The success and growth of CARE Nicaragua’s avian and pandemic influenza program is largely attributed to strong partnerships and networking with organizations like NICASALUD, which in turn paved the way for CARE Nicaragua to play an even more pivotal role in government and national-level preparedness.

Please feel free to email us at CARE Headquarters with questions and comments. You can also directly contact Harold Rugama at CARE Nicaragua ( to discuss this case study and learn more!