A project is underway to map the development and implementation of avian influenza policies in Bangladesh, experts involved with the task said yesterday.
This project would help identify different layers of poultry value chains, particularly, in Dhaka and Chittagong and help policy planners to know the area of future interventions to check any bird flue outbreak, they told a roundtable, "Avian Influenza Prevention and Control: Policy Options in Bangladesh", at a hotel in the capital.
It was organised under the aegis of Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, UK. Prof David Heymann, who heads the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House, London, chaired the session.
The mapping project is carried out as part of research on "Behavioral Adaptations in Live Poultry Trading and Farming Systems and Zoonoses Control in Bangladesh (BALZAC)" where researchers from the UK and also from Bangladeshi institutions like Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University and Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute are collaborating.
While thousands of chickens were culled in past years to save the burgeoning poultry industry from any bird flue epidemic, an avian influenza subtype -- H5N1 virus --remains endemic among poultry in Bangladesh.
According to the Institute for Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Bangladesh confirmed the presence of H5N1 virus in poultry in March 2007, and since then poultry outbreaks of H5N1 have been confirmed in 47 of the 64 districts in Bangladesh.
Talking to The Daily Star on the sidelines of the roundtable, Dr Guillaume Fournié, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the Royal Veterinary College, UK, said through BALZAC they would have a better understanding of the whole range of poultry value chains in Dhaka and Chittagong.
Md Ahasanul Hoque, who teaches veterinary epidemiology at Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, hoped that the outcome of this exercise would provide the government and departments concerned with better policy options to contain avian influenza.
Institute for Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Prof Mahmudur Rahman, UN FAO consultant Prof Nitish C Debnath, Chatham House consultant Dr Kaushik Chattopadhyay, and other government and non-government stakeholders took part in the roundtable.