November 18, 2008


India's government proactive mode to tackle bird flu


Bird flu and the fear that comes with it is being met head-on by the state animal husbandry department.


The department has undertaken an exhaustive drive to train veterinarian, para-veterinarian and the staff of other associated departments on the technical know-how of the disease and how best to combat it.


In the next stage, this know-how will be passed on to the farmers and the rearers of the birds. The two-month training which ended on Saturday, November 15 2008 saw 1,263 veterinarians, 7,689 para-veterinarians and 7,000 employees of the other departments of the state being imparted the technical know-how about the disease under a World Bank-funded scheme.


The need for the training assumes importance as one of the three international fly ways which are adopted by the migratory birds passing through Uttar Pradesh. The virus of the flu is transported by water fowls which are its carriers and who transport the same from one country to another. The migration takes place between September and February. Significantly, there are very few experts for this specialised field and no separate cadre for the same.


Chief technical officer Dr Au Qidwai said the science for the detection is not developed to the extent required here. The training is aimed at overcoming this shortfall to some extent.


Under the training, the staff was told how to detect the symptoms of the disease, how to collect the samples and send them to the testing laboratories in Bhopal and Pune while ensuring that the cold chain did not get disrupted in addition to other dos and don'ts required.


Qidwai says the farmers cannot be expected to do differential diagnosis as in many cases the birds may be having symptoms which are akin to the flu but is not actually the case.


Training was also given to the staff of the PWD, forest, health and revenue departments at the time of any outbreak birds in large numbers having to be destroyed and compensation paid to the farmers.


For these funds required which entails the involvement of these departments, training was given to the staff of these departments so that each would be aware of their duties in the event of an outbreak.


Many a times it has been found that birds do not suffer from the flu but a scare is generated which results in a marked fall in the consumption of backyard, commercial and layer birds. The issue, therefore, had to be taken up scientifically and a general awareness created for it.


Poultry farming is now being looked upon as a lucrative business. It is also being seen as possessing a lot of potential by way of employment generation. Therefore, the anticipation of the government to meet the issue of bird flu and scare generated by it becomes head-on.

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