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Vietnam: Avian Influenza Communication Campaign

Government and UN Launch Nationwide Pre-Tet Communication Campaign For Avian Influenza Prevention

HA NOI -- With no new outbreaks of avian influenza among birds reported since the 15th of December last year and no reported human cases for over two months, the Government of Viet Nam and the United Nations are stepping up efforts to prevent the further spread of Avian Influenza with an intensive media campaign designed to provide the public with key facts on Avian Influenza prevention.

“This is the beginning of a longer-term intensive campaign to provide the public with simple, clear messages on how they can protect themselves, their families and their communities from this very serious threat,” said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Cao Duc Phat. “Information, education and communication lie at the very heart of prevention and control efforts,” he added.

The nation-wide campaign is designed to deliver four key prevention messages in the days leading up to and during the Lunar New Year Tet celebrations when chicken consumption, transport and handling all increase dramatically.

Several national celebrities -- including, actor Lê Khanh; comedians, Quang Thắng and Minh Vượng; and singer-composer couple, Mỹ Linh & Anh Quân -- are also supporting the program to help convey these key essential facts.

“Bird flu kills but it can be prevented,” said Mr. Jesper Morch, UN Resident Coordinator. “It is critical that individuals recognize the important role they have to play in preventing further outbreaks and the spread of the virus,” he added.

Avian Influenza/ H5N1 continues to affect domestic poultry and cause human infections across East and Southeast Asia and is taking an ever-tightening grip in countries outside the region. Among all affected countries worldwide, Viet Nam has had the highest number of reported human cases and deaths from the virus.

“While the current trend is positive in Viet Nam with no reported cases of human infection since mid-November,” said Mr. Phat, “the threat remains very serious indeed. We are dealing with a virus that is resilient, subject to complex changes and difficult to predict”

The pre-Tet IEC campaign is a key component of the Joint Government and UN Programme “Strengthening the management of public health emergencies in Viet Nam, with focus on the prevention and control of diseases of epidemic potential including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI),” signed on 13 October 2005.

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