Getting practical to combat avian influenza

Demonstration on 3D operation

27 November-3 December, Gelephu: Fifty-eight officials from the livestock, health, disaster management, regulatory and quarantine, and police along with two farmers from Juprey, Gelephu are attending a seven day simulation training on avian influenza A (H7N9 and H5N1) to understand the real bird flu outbreak situation for its effective containment.

The training includes both theory and practical sessions based on the revised National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan (NIPPP) 2011, a living document that details the arrangements and specific actions required for the pandemic influenza management

to help reduce its impact.

During the training, officials will learn about the basic information on H7N9 and H5N1; revised NIPPP, disaster act, communication strategy, roles of stakeholders, current status of avian flu etc. that can be looked upon during outbreaks. Field issues, experiences of the past bird flu outbreaks and recommendations will be shared.

Trainees will carry out the simulation exercises in the field covering the real outbreak scenarios. This will be done activating the Incident Operation Centre, using the personal protective equipments (PPE), forming teams for disinfection, surveillance and health etc; applying rapid test kit, and 3D (Depopulation, Disposal and Decontamination), among others that plays a significant role to control the outbreak. They will be also awarded certificates.

According to resource persons, simulation are required to evaluate emergency preparedness, response and recovery arrangement of the stakeholders to avoid unexpected disastrous during emergency which is practical and cost effective means for the government.

The training will prepare the stakeholders to respond and contain the Bird Flu disease effectively within minimum duration incurring least expenditure to the government. It will also help them to detect the disease as early as possible and spark early warning to the stakeholders through proper surveillance system.

The training inaugural session was chaired by the Sarpang Dzongrab, Dasho Phuentsho Gyeltshen who highlighted in his speech, the need to understand the bird flu for its successful containment and mankind safety.

Organised by the National Centre for Animal Health, Serbithang with fund support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the training is the seventh of its kind. According to a spokesperson, such training has been helpful in creating awareness on the bird flu risk and controlling its outbreak in the country at large.

Bhutan has experienced eight outbreaks since 2010, after the last case in Samtse in February 2013, no outbreak has been reported. ‘This is one of the booming achievements for the livestock and its stakeholders’, the spokesperson added.

In order to ensure that the disease do not enter the country, both veterinary vigilance and border vigilance teams are being activated rigorously in the risk based and border areas particularly during winter and in times of outbreaks at the neighbouring countries.

By Tshering Doma, ICS

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