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US Ambassador Hails MINEPIA For Combating Bird Flu 

By Nformi Sonde KinsaiP1080809

The US Ambassador to Cameroon, H.E. Michael Stephen Hoza, has congratulated the Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, MINEPIA, Dr. Taïga, for the swift measures taken to contain the spread of the avian flu in the country.

H.E. Hoza made the declaration in an interview to the press June 7, shortly after an audience granted him and members of his delegation by the Minister.

“I have been working closely with Dr. Taïga, but I came today to introduce two new employees of the Embassy to him and his collaborators. Their mission is to closely work with Cameroon on the protection of the environment. So, I wanted them to meet Dr. Taïga immediately because his responsibility touches much on the environment here in Cameroon,” the Diplomat told the press.

On their discussion with regards to the outbreak of the avian influenza or bird flu in the country, the diplomat noted: “I want to congratulate the Minister and to inform my collaborators of the Centre for Disease Control here in Cameroon that we praised their swift reaction and the expertise activities of the National Veterinary Laboratory, LANAVET, for quickly diagnosing the disease,” H.E. Hoza maintained.

Concerning the nature of support Cameroon should be expecting from the US Government to combat the spread of the bird flu in the country, he told the press that “our collaboration continues everyday and this is part of the Global Health Security Agenda to fight pandemics on which the Center for Disease Control is working with the Ministries of Public Health and MINEPIA.

“We are happy with the action taken so far by the Minister in this new challenge of avian flu. The reaction was rapid and in the right direction. So, we are happy to be working in partnership with Cameroon against this avian influenza,” he stated.

Since the outbreak of the disease was announced at a press conference in Yaounde by Ministers of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, Dr. Taïga and that of Health, André Mama Fouda, on May 25, cases have been reported only at the Mvog-Betsi poultry complex in Yaounde, the Ebolowa fowls market in the South Region, Bayangam and Bafoussam in the West Region.

The reaction of MINEPIA officials has been swift as they have been moving rapidly to the reported sites of the flu in order to contain it. The movement of table birds in and out of the affected areas is strictly forbidden by the administrative authorities until further notice.

The Post learnt that MINEPIA officials have been tracing the movements of dealers in fowls who had a contact or bought birds from the Mvog-Betsi poultry complex where dead birds infected by the H5 virus were tested and confirmed by LANAVET.

It was gathered that MINEPIA, the Ministry of Trade, MIRAP and the councils are brainstorming on the possibilities of opening up special promotional markets where the table birds tested and confirmed to be free from the avian influenza could be sold to the population.

Meanwhile, trucks loaded with fowls and eggs from the West Region destined to other Regions of the country have reportedly been intercepted and grounded by administrative and security authorities as part of the measures to contain the spread of the disease.