Sunday, April 29, 2007

April 28 Flu Update

UNICEF story on flu education efforts in Indonesia.

Sitam is a shopkeeper who keeps a pen of about 20 chickens behind his home in Central Java. He regularly disinfects the area and has vaccinated his chickens against the virus. “We are afraid of avian flu,” says Sitam. “But we are doing whatever we can to protect ourselves.”
Fargo, ND is planning its flu strategy. They fear that over 500 people could be hospitalized there.

Here's a pretty good graphic describing how they ran the numbers.

A 101-year old woman in North Dakota recalls the flu spreading like "wildlfire," a metaphor which probably wasn't a cliche to her.


At 11:29 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your Indonesia article is actually pretty thought-provoking. Did you notice in the second paragraph, how the farmer, named “Wiyatno”, disposed of some of his avian infected chickens - he fed some to his stock of catfish, and burned the rest. No wonder the H5N1 virus is endemic in that entire environment. Two thirds of the poultry farmers think, “the risk of avian flu in their communities is small”. There is a profound lack of public health education and absence of central governance in that country.

The other thing of importance I noticed about the article, is the heavy involvement and financial assistance in Indonesia, by the various United Nation’s organizations – UNICEF, the WHO, the World Bank and the FAO.

I’m not sure what the UN is getting for their money, or rather the donor’s money to the UN which is being given away. Last year, the World Bank alone, provided Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, with a whopping $ 15M grant to fight avian flu, to be used for building adequate veterinary and health systems, for surveillance work, culling and poultry vaccinations, and to prepare for an outbreak of avian influenza in their human populations. There currently is another $ 80M World Bank grant in the pipeline (astoundingly) for Indonesia, for an “Avian and Human Influenza Control and Preparedness Project”.

And yet, Indonesia is sandbagging the entire world by refusing to provide avian virus samples.

What is their government doing with all this free money and their oil revenues ? The average poor Indonesian, which number in the range of 110M people, still live on $ 2-3 per day.

Maybe some of this money from the UN should really be targeted for anti-government corruption, instead of wishfully thinking that Indonesia will someday establish their own vaccine manufacturing capability.

Unfortunately, with the UN, their charity always looks at the need, and not at the cause.



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