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Cablegate: Avian Influenza Update for Ethiopia- Protect Accordingly

VZCZCXRO6247
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #0832/01 0871424
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271424Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0054
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 000832

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR G/AIAG, AF/EX, AND DS/IP/AF
USAID/W FOR AFR/SD, BGH/AI, AFR/ESA
CJTF-HOA FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958; N/A
TAGS: ET KFLU TBIO AMED EAID EAGR SENV XW
SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA UPDATE FOR ETHIOPIA- PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

-------------
(SBU) SUMMARY
-------------
1. Post's Inter-Agency Avian Influenza committee met March 21, 2008
to review the situation in Ethiopia with respect to the status of
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the country since the
committee's last meeting March 29, 2007. There have been no
outbreaks in the past year in spite of some suspicious cases which
were not AI. The Ethiopian government remains vigilant. The USG
continues to provide support through the World Health Organization,
Texas A & M, the Johns Hopkins Health Communications Project, the
Red Cross, and technical support from USAID and the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. END SUMMARY

2. (U) The Mission continues to provide support for the GOE to
prevent an outbreak and/or respond if an outbreak occurs. Efforts
include technical assistance to the government, surveillance
activities, and coordination efforts.


----------
RESOURCES
---------

3. (SBU) FY08USAID has obligated $1,250,000 USD for Avian Influenza
for 2008. $862,500 is obligated to Texas A&M to undertake animal
surveillance, laboratory diagnosis and some communication,$200,000
was obligated to the Johns Hopkins Health Communication Project for
communication and community awareness program, and $187,000
obligated to WHO for human surveillance. In 2007, CDC awarded a
multi-year Cooperative Agreement to the MOH for $200,000. The
purpose of the CoAg is to enhance current influenza-surveillance
activities in Ethiopia, which includes establishment of a national
influenza center, laboratory capacity building, and training of
staff. CDC is currently working with the MOH to submit their
continuation application for FY08 funding.

------------------------------------------
COORDINATION EFFORTS AND CAPACITY BUILDING
------------------------------------------

4. (U) The week of March 10, 2008 USAID/Ethiopia hosted a tdy from
USAID/W's Humanitarian Initiative to Prepare for a Pandemic
Influenza Emergency (HILLIE). This is a three year initiative to
build a fully prepared and deployable "off the shelf'' capacity of
likely first responders during an influenza pandemic. Ethiopia is
one of five countries for the stage one of the project (Egypt,
Rwanda, Nepal and Cambodia). A draft report is expected in two
months re the development and roll out of this plan. As part of the
early response, CDC provided training and technical assistance
either directly or indirectly through JHPIEGO. Influenza experts
from CDC headquarters visited Ethiopia to provide technical
assistance. JHPIEGO assigned staff to the MOH for one-year to
provide continuous on-site technical assistance. CDC also provided
personal protective equipment. In February 2008, laboratory experts
from the CDC Kenya office visited Ethiopia to assist in evaluating
the current status of the influenza program. As part of the effort
to strengthen GOE capacity, CDC Kenya has invited staff from
Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI) and MOH to
attend training and a regional workshop on AI.

5. (U) A recent USAID East Africa Avian Influenza partners meeting
was held in Kampala, Uganda March 3-5, 2008. More than 70
participants attended the meeting including USAID/Ethiopia,
USAID/EA, USAID/EGAT, USAID/GHB, CDC/Atlanta, USDA, US/ARMU,
FAO/Rome and Kenya, AU-IBAR, DFID, WHO/AFRRO, UNICEF/ESARO, UNOCHA,
USAID /Uganda, USAID/DRC, USAID/Kenya, USAID/Togo, USAID/Tanzania,
and representatives of implementing partners. The goal of the
meeting was to establish effective regional, sub-regional, and
national activities/resources/linkages among East Africa AI
partners. The objectives were a) Identify complementary activities
that partners will implement and the roles the partners will take in
all levels of AI work in 2008 nationally, sub-regionally, and
regionally. b) Identify lessons learned from current AI work to
incorporate into 2008 activities and, c) Identify key
coordination/collaboration points among partners and refine and
harmonize the work plans of partners in the region

-------------------
US EMBASSY RESPONSE
-------------------


ADDIS ABAB 00000832 002 OF 002


6. The US Embassy Addis Ababa Health Unit maintains a limited
stockpile of Tamiflu, Relenza and PPE for mission employees and
eligible family members, per State policy. The country of Ethiopia
is poorly equipped to manage any complications from avian flu.
Health care resources would be quickly overwhelmed in the event of
an outbreak, as would medevac capability. Tamiflu is not available
locally, and there are few ventilators, isolation wards, etc. In
keeping with the Policy Coordination Committee recommendations of
March 10, 2008, the embassy would adopt a "remain-in-country"
position, allowing for support of those who chose to return to the
U.S. early in the pandemic, to the extent possible. The Health Unit
encourages a proactive approach by families and individuals by
adopting practices now that will limit transmission of respiratory
organisms. These would include covering the mouth and nose when
coughing and sneezing, frequent hand washing with soap and water or
alcohol based disinfectant and maintaining a distance of at least 3
feet from people with respiratory illness. The HU also encourages
keeping basic PPE, medical supplies, water and food at home in the
event of an outbreak.

----------
NEXT STEPS
----------

7. (U) Unless there is an outbreak, Post plans to meet again for a
routine monitoring in six months.

8. (U) Mission points of contact are: Meri Sinnitt USAID/Ethiopia
Health Officer 251-115510088 and Catherine Avery, CDC Director (A),
251-11-466-9566

MALAC

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