Daily Trust (Abuja)

5 April 2010

Nigeria: Avian Influenza is Not Over - FAO

The Avian influenza pandemic is not yet over in Nigeria says the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Chief Technical Adviser of the Emergency Centre for Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) of FAO Dr. Tesfia Tseggai said this in Abuja during the launching of products from FAO-media fellowship project.

He said despite successes recorded in bringing the disease under control, Avian influenza can still be found in some very remote rural settlements.

The media fellowship project seeks to promote interaction between media persons, veterinary experts and the rural poor who interact with birds as part of everyday with a view to creating awareness on issues bordering on animal and human health.

"media fellowship is about giving voice to ordinary Nigerians especially rural dwellers to talk to the media on their experiences with birds and Avian influenza," he said.

Country Representative of FAO in Nigeria Dr. Helder Muteia said many countries are still battling with Avian influenza but Nigeria has been able to bring it under control and has not recorded any new outbreak since July 2008.

Muteia observed that history has shown that successes must be recorded and properly managed for sustainability.

Media products that were launched included documentaries, in photograph, film and radio.

"There are documentaries that reveal the complex relationship between birds and their human neighbours, there are radio and television programs that reveal the immense contribution of birds to the livelihood of Nigerians and pictures as well," he said.

Participants visited selected communities across Nigeria affected by the disease and documented the experiences of the locals and cultural practices involving the use of birds in Nigeria.

Ten media persons were awarded fellowship certificates after participating in the project.

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