- The East African Community (EAC) health ministers have endorsed a plan of action to contain the deadly bird flu virus which was reported in neighbouring Sudan earlier this month.
According to the bloc's communiqué, although no case of bird flu has been reported in any of the EAC countries, members have decided to guard against the deadly virus which is reportedly ravaging some parts of Sudan.
The statement said as part of the action plan by the bloc's health ministers, the ministries will assess the level of preparedness and response to the impending outbreak, by conducting field simulation exercises at various border areas in its five-member states.
According to the plan, the first cross border exercise will take place in districts bordering Kenya and Uganda in May this year followed by a similar exercise on other border districts/regions in October.
Local reports have said that the plan which is expected to cost more than US$233 000 proposes to tackle Avian Influenza, will also cover other human and animal communicable diseases that can be easily transmitted across regional borders.
The EAC's principal health coordinator Dr Stanley Sonoiya, said the European Union would also disburse 200,000 euros through the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) for the field exercise.
"This exercise is the culmination of the EAC Avian and Pandemic task force activity to assess the cross border level of preparedness for the impending outbreak," he said.
The exercise will cover border districts between Kenya Busia and Teso and Uganda Busia and Tororo, regions of Tanzania Kagera, Burundi Muyinga Province and Rwanda, Eastern Province.
The highly contagious avian influenza (bird flu) is reported to have wiped out 150 million chickens and killed over 70 people in parts of the world, mainly South East Asia, in the past four years.
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