Monday, July 5, 2010

Dissemination of Community Based Avian Influenza Project

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Care International in Cambodia has conducted a media workshop on “Community Based Avian Influenza Project” on June 29th in Phnom Penh to disseminate about avian influenza project as well as to raise awareness about the danger and epidemics of the avian influenza for Cambodians.
About 40 of the electronic and print media organizations, newspapers, magazines, and radios, and farmers have invited and attended the media workshop on the “Community Based Avian Influenza Project” in Phnom Penh.
Sharon Wilkinson, Country Director of the Care International in Cambodia, said that the workshop provided information to the participants as they need to learn about the project.
She stated that the project has succeeded in integrating hygiene promotion and bio-secure poultry farming practices through demonstration farms with a community-based surveillance system comprised of the village surveillance teams.
“I hope that the lessons we have documented would help inform the future projects of our government partners and NGOs and allow them to continue with the successful components of the project and address the challenges that the pilot project faced during the last three years,” she said.
Sharon noted that although the VST model was initially developed for avian influenza, the training and capacity now available at the village level could very well be used in larger community health campaigns, disaster risk reduction, pandemic preparedness, and emergency response. She added that households that practice bio-security measures can achieve the twin objectives of protecting their families and poultry against avian influenza and enhancing their income and protein sources.
“Care International also would like to recommend that the future projects should include more women in training for the VST positions as they are in charge of many aspects of home-based human and animal health care,” she said. “Their inclusion will also help mitigate the problem of losing trained personnel due to urban migration for better income opportunities; Included budgetary support for coordination of the VST under the provincial Committee for Disaster Management; Provide incentives to encourage VST in their role by providing them ID Card’s for free health treatment, formal recognition of training and discounted health care at clinics,” she added.
Sharon stated that to the future projects should address sustainability of bio-secure poultry farms, Care recommendation that the livelihood and economic benefit benefits of bio-secure poultry farms are emphasized in future projects so that farmers will be motivated to practice bio-security measures. She added that any bio-security measures that are recommended must take into account the social-economic realities of those who will expect to implement it. Distinguishing between households for whom poultry is significant source of family income and households for whom poultry are an important, but low-input, low-output assets to be drawn upon in times of need is an important first step in developing better targeted interventions. /

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