SIEM REAP - The UN Food and
Agriculture Organization has wrapped up its national bird flu awareness program
and is handing over training to district veterinary officers, officials said in
Siem Reap, site of one of Cambodia's largest chicken and duck populations and a
major trade center for poultry.
The move reflects local success in
reducing the likelihood of outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 virus on the hundreds of
small, family-owned farms around the country.
"The training enables village
animal health workers, who are the eyes and ears of the veterinary service and
the first point of contact for villagers who suspect their fowl might have bird
flu, to support veterinary services," FAO information officer Maria Cecilia told
the Post on June 23 following the FAO's final bird flu awareness forum last
"To make the training sustainable,
FAO and the Department of Animal Health and Production are training all 186
district veterinary officers from 24 provinces to become trainers so they can
take over this job once FAO funding runs out," Cecilia
More than 6,000 village vets have
been trained in Cambodia's 24 provinces on such
measures as surveillance, bio-security, outbreak response and communication.
"The Siem Reap forum shows that
village animal health workers who recently received training ... have more
confidence to speak in public and can answer questions from the villagers,"
Cambodia has experienced seven human bird
flu deaths since 2003 amid fears that many cases go unreported by rural
villagers with low awareness of the virus. Siem Riep experienced an outbreak on
two poultry farms in 2004.