Professionals to work with the government over bird flu

By  Esther  Mwangi

More than 15,000 veterinary paraprofessionals will complement government efforts within the East African region, in curbing the spread of the deadly bird flu that has been reported in Uganda.

The private veterinarians will now work closely with the various government personnel to ensure that the avian flu said to affect both human and animals, does not spread to other East African countries.

The chairman, Africa Veterinary Technical Association (AVTA) Benson Ameda said the outbreak could be devastating to the region, adding that they did not have enough personnel to deal with the disease if it spreads into other areas.

Addressing the press in Naivasha, the chairman called on the government of Kenya to ban home-slaughter of chickens with immediate effect as one way of dealing with the outbreak.

“We have started mobilizing about 8,000 private vets in Kenya, 4,000 from Uganda, 3,000 from Tanzania and 300 from Rwanda as one country cannot be able to contain the flu,” he said.

Ameda expressed concern over the porous borders between the East African countries, adding that the disease could spread further if the necessary measures were not taken urgently.

The chairman added that the move to ban poultry trade at the border was in order, saying that the association fully supported government efforts in dealing with the outbreak.

Early in the week, the Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA) called for the banning of poultry trade between Kenya and Uganda until the flu is contained.

The Kenya Veterinary Paraprofessional Association KVPA national chairman, John Ngige identified human capacity and equipment as the major challenges that the exercise would face, noting that his members were up to the task to handle the matter, which he said if not well handled could devastate livestock sector and the economy of the country in general.

At the same time, Ngige called on farmers in the country to be wary of quacks out to cash on the crisis by selling them expired and even fake drugs.

Tests done on tens of birds found dead on Lutembe beach at Lake Victoria and near Entebbe have turned positive for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).


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