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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bird flu training goes local

Bird flu training goes local

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,"

Cecilia said.

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.



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