The Avian Influenza Advisory Board today approved a grant in the amount of US$2.96 million for Avian Influenza Control and Human Pandemic Preparedness and Response activities in the Republic of Uzbekistan. The grant was provided by the European Union through the Avian and Human Influenza Facility Trust Fund and will be administered by the World Bank. The Project will help strengthen the country’s capacity to prevent the spread of avian influenza among poultry, prevent the transmission of avian influenza from birds to humans, and prepare for a potential pandemic of avian influenza transmissible between humans.
The majority of poultry in the country is owned by households, and poultry production is a significant part of rural households’ incomes and food basket. Of the more than 20 million poultry in the country, 15 million (75%) are held by backyard flocks. Commercial poultry farms, which account for about 25% of poultry in the country, have enclosed poultry houses, and industrial poultry is thus less susceptible to enter into contact with wild birds. However, trade flows and particularly of chicks from Russia and Turkey, countries where the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has already occurred, constitute a high risk of HPAI exposure.
Uzbekistan has, so far, not had any recorded outbreaks of the highly pathogenic avian influenza. HPAI cases have been reported, however, in neighboring countries, including Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia, Iraq, India, and China. The risk to Uzbekistan of an HPAI outbreak remains significant as a result of migratory waterfowl patterns and/or cross-border poultry trade in the region.
The Government has prepared a National Program for Avian Influenza Prevention and Control. In addition, several international actors are already working to help Uzbekistan address the HPAI threat, including FAO,UNICEF and WHO.
"Globally, the World Bank has been playing a critical role in rallying international support to combat the threat posed by Avian Flu and in preparing for a possible human pandemic," says Loup Brefort, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan."Uzbekistan needs help in dealing with this threat that could potentially impose a severe burden of disease, loss of productivity and livelihoods on the country. An outbreak would also undermine the efforts to limit the global spread of infection."
The major components of the project include the following components:
i) ’Public Awareness and Information’ to minimize the risk of outbreaks and contamination, by ensuring that citizens understand the threat, and are aware of symptoms, with a view to influencing their behavior in order to protect themselves and their communities;
(ii) ’Animal Health’ will provide support for prevention, control and total eradication of avian flu through better planning, coordination and surveillance mechanisms;
(iii) ’Human Health’ aims at reducing the impact of the influenza virus through public health planning and coordination, and by strengthening the public health surveillance and response capacity;
(iv) ’Project Implementation Support’ will strengthen public structures to coordinate and manage project implementation activities, including financial management, procurement and monitoring and evaluation.
Uzbekistan joined the World Bank in 1992. Total World Bank commitments to Uzbekistan amount to US$630 million.