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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Strategic Communications and Planning > Key Policy Fact Sheets > 2006
Fact Sheet

Washington, DC
November 29, 2006

U.S. Government Support for African Efforts to Combat Avian and Pandemic Influenza

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(There is an updated version of this fact sheet located at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/scp/2006/77772.htm)

Since Africa's first outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 occurred in Nigeria early in 2006, the disease has spread to Egypt, Djibouti, Sudan, Niger, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, and Cameroon. As of late November 2006, fifteen cases of the disease in humans, seven of them fatal, had been reported in Egypt, and one non-fatal case in Djibouti. Millions of birds have died or become infected, causing social and economic disruption with implications for the food supply as well as the income of many Africans.

To assist Africa in responding to avian influenza outbreaks and preparing for a possible human pandemic, the United States is supporting African efforts through bilateral and regional programs. In 2006, the United States allocated $33.45 million to bilateral and regional efforts in North and Sub-Saharan Africa. As of November 2006:

  • $ 21.1 million had been committed to bilateral assistance to 25 countries in Africa
  • $ 2.5 million had been dedicated to regional assistance programs
  • $ 8.85 million had gone to support regional disease detection sites in Egypt and Kenya ; and
  • $2.2 million had been provided to Africa regional activities of the World Health Organization

The U.S. is providing various forms of assistance to Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The U.S. also assists the activities of the WHO, FAO and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and regional animal health organizations in Africa.

The activities of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of State (DOS) and the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) have focused on strengthening preparedness and response planning, building Africa's capacity in human and animal health, strengthening laboratory diagnostics, increasing the level of public awareness and information, and enhancing disease surveillance and detection.

PREPAREDNESS AND COMMUNICATION

U.S. assistance efforts to Africa for preparedness and communication include:

  • Providing funds to the Government of Mali to host the December 2006 international conference on avian and pandemic influenza in Bamako (USAID);
  • Placing regional avian influenza advisors in Africa (USAID);
  • Assigning experts to give technical assistance to Africa bilaterally and through the FAO (USDA);
  • Supporting regional coordination, technical exchange and strategy development in West Africa through the ECOWAS Technical Experts and Ministerial Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, in June 2006 (USAID);
  • Conducting tabletop simulations for pandemic preparedness in Madagascar and Rwanda (USAID), and for HPAI response in Senegal with FAO (USDA);
  • Promoting the model of private-public partnerships in regulating and containing animal disease through the attendance of African officials in meetings of the U.S. Animal Health Association and with participants in the U.S. National Poultry Improvement Plan (USDA);
  • Carrying out risk communications activities in 12 African countries (USAID, HHS/CDC);
  • Conducting training in risk communications for epidemiologists, communications specialists and laboratory personnel (HHS/CDC);
  • Providing a technical expert and funding to WHO in Africa for WHO's February 2007 pandemic communications meeting in Cairo and other activities (HHS);
  • Developing a pilot program to test information and communication technology to determine the most effective means for delivering rapid information to public health and clinical workers and the public in Kenya (HHS/CDC);
  • Carrying out health behavior research in Kenya to assist the Ministry of Health and UNICEF/Kenya in developing risk communication materials (HHS/CDC);
  • Assisting the Nigerian Ministries of Information, Health and Agriculture in administering surveys and testing messages for use in developing risk communication materials, and testing an educational booklet for Nigerian school children (HHS/CDC);
  • Providing information on avian and pandemic influenza to African journalists through media workshops (DOS, IBB, HHS/CDC);
  • Increasing public knowledge of the virus through increased broadcasting for Africa (DOS, IBB); and
  • Distributing 30,000 packets of avian flu materials to countries and non-government organizations in Africa to build awareness of basic information about avian flu and prevention methods (USAID).

SURVEILLANCE AND DETECTION

To assist Africa in building capacity for surveillance and detection, the United States is

  • Expanding disease surveillance and response capacity in Africa through the Global Disease Detection (GDD) Response Centers in Kenya and Egypt, support of NAMRU-3 laboratories in Cairo, and partnerships with African-based Institut Pasteur laboratories (HHS/CDC);
  • Training joint laboratory and epidemiology teams from 14 African countries in laboratory and surveillance methods (HHS/CDC);
  • Delivering a workshop on disease surveillance technology and management of epidemiological data to Nigeria (USDA);
  • Training and supporting training for officials, veterinarians, epidemiologists, and laboratory diagnosticians from 32 African nations (USDA); and
  • Delivering rapid diagnostic testing kits to six countries (USDA).

RESPONSE AND CONTAINMENT

To help African nations to respond to and contain avian and pandemic influenza outbreaks, the U.S. is taking the following actions:

  • Expanding infection control capacity in Africa (HHS/CDC);
  • Allocating more than $4 million to the FAO and OIE for the Emergency Center for Trans-boundary Animal Diseases Crisis Management Center to develop an integrated human and animal health response mechanism and to support multilateral rapid response missions in Africa (USDA, USAID);
  • Conducting integrated rapid response team training for epidemiologists, veterinarians, laboratory personnel, communications specialists and infection control specialists in 16 African countries (HHS/CDC);
  • Sending close to 32,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other commodities such as decontamination kits to African countries for investigating outbreaks, collecting and shipping samples, and responding to outbreaks, and providing training in PPE use (USAID and USDA);
  • Providing technical assistance to Nigeria, Sudan and other countries as needed for HPAI avian influenza containment efforts (HHS/CDC); and
  • Delivering diagnostic equipment, reagents, rapid test kits, disinfectants, cleaning and disinfection kits and other commodities to laboratories in Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Kenya, and Senegal (USDA).


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