International meet on Avian flu agree on a roadmap

Published: Monday 31 December 2007

the International Ministerial Conference on Avian and Pandemic influenza, conducted recently in New Delhi, came up with a New Delhi Road Map for 2008 for the 60 countries currently affected by the avian influenza virus h5n1, and the rest that are at risk. The roadmap, prepared by the government of India, is a template that will be adapted by countries to ensure they are ready to control the highly pathogenic avian influenza and contain and mitigate the influenza pandemic.

The roadmap is significant considering five new countries became contaminated with the virus in 2007. Although only 71 people were affected by h5n1 till November 5, 2007, it is estimated the next pandemic will see around 28 million people affected, said Margaret Chan, director-general, who. The meeting underlined the importance of the transformation of the animal and health sectors and stressed on capacity to address public health crisis. The roadmap provides 21 milestones divided in eight broad categories. These include commitment, assessment of existing situation, surveillance, effective response, ensuring human health security, coordination and active communication. The effectiveness of the roadmap will help develop the roadmap for 2009. It is based on India's success in controlling the virus in 2006 and 2007.

The meeting was organised by fao, who and the World Bank. The roadmap identifies funds as one of the major requirements for preparedness. In 2006, donors had pledged a total of us $ 2.3 billion, of which us $ 1.7 billion has been given. The us has raised its contribution by us $195 million, a part of which will support India's surveillance programme for animal and human diseases.

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