The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Department of Technical Extension and Legislation, along with several international NGOs and officials from provincial agriculture departments, are currently rolling out an awareness campaign on the prevention of Avian Influenza in several provinces. 

The latest activities took place in markets and schools in Battambang province on May 22 and 23.

The activities are a part of the Global Health Security Programme, which kicked off in October 2023, and is being jointly implemented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and USAID, along with the government institutions.

An FAO media representative told The Post that the project will continue until September 2027.

In 2023, the campaign was carried out at 64 schools in eight provinces, reaching 16,000 people. Outside of schools, education activities were held in five provinces, reaching 6,875 people.

This year the programme, now in its second round, will hold 80 school forums in 10 provinces. It is expected to reach 20,000 people, according to the FAO.

“This campaign aims to raise awareness of avian influenza prevention and control. We are educating people through key messages such as reporting sick and dead poultry to local authorities, not touching dead or ill birds, and burying or burning them. In addition, we remind them to exercise caution when cooking chicken,” said the FAO representative.

The project equips primary school students with knowledge of how to control and prevent avian influenza, with each school becoming an opportunity for the attendees to teach their peers.

Cambodia recently experienced several cases of bird flu or H5N1, although they were restricted before they could become a major outbreak. The Ministry of Health has also issued regular reminders about prevention measures.

Nuth Sambath, president of the Institute of Medicine, Biology and Agriculture at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, explained that bird flu can be transmitted to people and can be life-threatening for individuals, as well as placing major strain on the public health sector.

“Education campaigns on the prevention of avian influenza are important to protect the health of individual community members, as well as public health. If the public does not understand how to prevent cases from spreading, this could pose a serious danger,” he said.