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Chirps of Wisdom: Taking a Leaf out Of Vietnam’s Bird-Flu Sag

It’s learning time for countries, and Vietnam’s tryst with Bird-flu leaves telltale cues about best practices in bird-flu management//. Vietnamese Farmers appear to know much more about bird-flu and the lethal H5N1 strain, than any of their counterparts in Europe and Africa. Not surprising, since Vietnam tops the list of countries badly affected by the onslaught of bird-flu, which in 2003 had claimed 42 human lives.

With confidence brimming, Mr Danh a Vietnamese farmer says “At the beginning, I didn't know much about bird flu. But in the past few years I've learnt a lot and now I watch the news to see where else it's spread."

So what are the lessons that other countries can learn from Vietnam? How did farmers like Mr Danh manage do to get rid of bird flu - and can poultry producers in Europe, with their huge bird farms and modern methods, employ similar methods in their farms?

Dr Hans Troedsson, a World Health Organization representative in Hanoi, firmly hold ground to the immense government dedication in Vietnam that helped combat the bird-flu crisis. In his words, "You should always start with widespread culling. Rapid action to cull poultry was taken in Vietnam, and that was because of decisions at prime ministerial level."

Education and creating awareness amongst people takes the next priority that should be followed up with a nationwide education programme, ample information broadcast on national media and advertisement around the country.

"It's important that people know to seek help at an early stage of the illness. In the first year of the outbreak there was a high mortality rate in Vietnam, but it got better as people became more educated." said Dr Troedsson


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