News

Nigeria Makes Some Progress in Preventing Bird Flu

Avian flu was detected in Africa 2006 when cases were confirmed at poultry farms in Nigeria. The news sparked fears that the conditions in Africa - poverty, porous borders and the lack of any regulation in the poultry markets - could combine to produce an avian influenza pandemic. Instead, a rapid response to the outbreak, the implementation of bio-security measures and more than a little luck has limited the spread of the disease.

At the Nana poultry farm in the northern Nigerian state of Kano, visitors are not welcome.

"We tell people that the farm is not a zoo. If you want to come in just for a look, go to the zoo," said the farm's owner, Muhammad Adamu. He lost more than 22,000 chickens in 2006. His farm was one of more than 50 that were depopulated in Nigeria that year because of bird flu. 

Since then, he and other major poultry producers have implemented a number of measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Visitors are not only limited, but anyone entering the farm must be disinfected. 

Adamu says he also buys birds from secure sources and constantly monitor the poultry for any sign of the disease. "Once bitten, twice shy. Once it happened we were told that the most important aspect of the business, if we want to be safe, is to be bio-security conscious," he said.

Bashir Sarki is the avian influenza desk officer in Kano State, He says now that the government has increased compensation for any losses, poultry producers are quick to report possible bird flu cases.  "That has been central too, I think, one of the reasons why we have less and less cases," he speculates. "People tend to report early and that will make us stamp this infection within that particular area very early."

But the danger of avian influenza spreading through unregulated poultry markets remains high.

Here in Kano, the government is training teams of monitors to recognize and respond to early sights of the disease. "But in the market you can never be sure," notes Yahaya Tanko.

One such team led by Federal Livestock Agent Tanko found conditions at the Kano live bird market conducive to the spread of bird flu. Geese and other wild birds were kept in close proximity to chickens. 

Cages containing different species were stacked so that birds on top dropped feces and feathers onto birds underneath. Poultry was processed in extremely unsanitary conditions near live birds. And food was cooked and sold in the middle of the market.
"When you go back to your local governments," Tanko said, "You should advise your chairman not to turn your markets into poultry houses."

Muhammad Idriss chairs the Kano Poultry Sellers Association. He says he welcomes government guidance to improve conditions. "We need to change our attitude," he says. "It is in our best interests."

But he says most vendors won't change until the government imposes regulations to force the market to act in its own best interest. 


This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs