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Cablegate: Nigeria: Avian Flu Update

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UNCLAS ABUJA 01956

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DE RUEHUJA #1956/01 2091051
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P 281051Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6605
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHNJ/AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA 0198
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0155
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RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME 0018
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001956

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USDA FOR FAS/OA, FAS/DLP, FAS/ICD AND FAS/ITP
USDA ALSO FOR APHIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU EAID EAGR NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: AVIAN FLU UPDATE

1. Summary: Results are awaited from several recent
suspected outbreaks in the commercial poultry producing
Southwest states of Ogun and Lagos. Field teams are visiting
the affected areas. UNICEF has placed four consultants at in
state capitals to work on state level communications plans,
and PACE has prepared pictorial posters describing AI
symptoms. UNDP has released two reports from consultants;
one on improving governance in Nigeria's AI response, and
one looking at the socio-economic impact of the outbreak.
End Summary.

Possible New Outbreaks
----------------------

2. There have been suspicious outbreaks in Ijebu-Ode and
Ijebu-East in Ogun State and in Ojo, Egbeda and Badagry
areas in Lagos State. FAO and the Joint Crisis Management
Unit are sending teams to investigate. Samples have been
sent to the National Veterinary Laboratory in Vom, but no
results have yet been reported. According to press reports,
two of 150 farms in the Ayedeto Farm Settlement in Ojo,
Lagos State experienced mass die-offs, with deaths numbering
in the thousands. Other farmers in the settlement
immediately began dumping their poultry on the market at a
discount. This went on for several days before State
agricultural officials arrived and put a stop to it,
reportedly removing the remaining birds and increasing
security at the settlement.

Communications Campaign
-----------------------

3. UNICEF has recruited four consultants to work in field
offices in Kaduna, Lagos, Bauchi and Enugu to help states
develop and implement communications plans. Work is most
advanced in Kaduna where the State AI committee has begun to
meet on communications issues. UNICEF has proposed that the
Federal Ministry of Information delegate some fulltime staff
entirely to AI, instead of rotating staff through on an ad
hoc basis. The EC's PACE organization has developed
pictorial materials that portray the symptoms of bird flu,
which have been distributed in some states.

Socio-Economic Impact Report
----------------------------

4. UNDP presented a draft report on July 24 on the Socio-
Economic Impact of Avian Influenza in Nigeria. The report
found that many small and medium scale farmers who lost
their flocks were unable to restock and stopped raising
poultry. Many laborers employed on poultry farms lost their
jobs. Non-infected farms experienced an average 45%
reduction in the size of their flocks. Compensation, set at
only about 25-33% of the market price, was inadequate to
cover losses, but government policy to pay only for birds
culled and not for birds which died of flu caused the most
hardship. If restocking was not managed carefully further
problems could ensue. Ancillary businesses such as feed
suppliers and retailers also were affected. The report
recommends improved compensation policy, a poultry census,
careful management of a restocking program, and a clear
vaccine policy.

Governance Report
-----------------

5. UNDP presented a brief overview of a consultants' report
and recommendations on "Enhancing the Governance of
Nigeria's Response to AI." The report noted weakness in
animal and human surveillance, compensation, depopulation,
public information, and restriction on bird movements. It
noted the structures that had emerged such as the National
Technical Committee on AI, but noted that surveillance and
reporting at the state and local level was still a problem.
While the response had been swift, institutional capacity
was weak, and the problems were compounded by the
perception, even among top officials that the epidemic was
over. The report recommended steps to educate a broad range
of officials and technical specialists, efforts to engage
NGOs and civil society, and focusing more effort at the
state level.
CAMPBELL

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