News

US Working to Boost Cambodia's Bird Flu Response System

The United States has agreed to give nearly $2 million to Cambodia to bolster its surveillance and response to any human outbreak of avian influenza. In Phnom Penh, the top U.S. health official expressed concern about Cambodia's ability to respond to disease outbreaks in general.

Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt says the U.S. aid package should help raise Cambodia's level of public health surveillance, so that any human-to-human spread of bird flu can be rapidly identified.

U.S. and U.N. health officials have warned repeatedly that if the H5N1 bird flu virus mutates into a form that is easily passed between humans, a worldwide outbreak could occur, putting millions of people at risk.

Mr. Leavitt is visiting Cambodia with leaders of the World Health Organization and various U.S. health agencies. He says the challenge facing Cambodia is not just building a bird flu response system, but building capacity to respond to epidemics of any nature.

"It is not the money as much as it is we want to join with the government of Cambodia to create the capacity, not just for the avian influenza, but for a pandemic potential in the long run," he explained.

Cambodia, where four people have died of bird flu, has used information campaigns to educate the public about the bird flu virus. But bird flu remains largely misunderstood in this impoverished country, where health services are poor and understaffed, and farmers are more concerned about their livelihoods than the outbreak of a strange disease.

Congress has contributed $25 million to fight the disease in Southeast Asia, where more than 60 people have died since late 2003 of bird flu. The H5N1 virus has been identified in 10 Asian countries leading to the death of 140 million birds.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made it clear the aid package is part of an effort to tackle the bird flu threat on a worldwide basis.

"If you look at the reality of pandemic flu, the entire world is unprepared at this moment, so it is not the kind of thing that you could turn around overnight," Mr. Fauci said. "But we are certainly putting on a very, very strong, full-court press, as we call it, to get this going."

Cambodia will receive nearly $2 million in U.S. aid.

That includes $300,000 to pay for a coordinator from the Department of Health and Human Services to support training and other preparation efforts.

The package will also support village-based surveillance, the training of epidemiologists, the development of community and hospital-based prevention plans, and improvements in laboratory equipment and staffing.

The health experts also visited Thailand and are due to leave Cambodia for Laos on Wednesday. Their schedule also includes Vietnam, and probably Indonesia.

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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs