FAO Acknowledges Government's Efforts to Control Avian Flu



Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) expressed appreciation to the Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services of the Ministry of Agriculture (DGLAHS MoA) for its success in controlling Avian Influenza (AI), popularly known as 'bird flu' or 'flu burung'.

    "FAO has supported the Government’s avian influenza control program since 2006. Throughout the 13 years of collaboration, we acknowledge the continuous decline in the number of avian flu cases," said FAO Representative to Indonesia and Timor Leste Stephen Rudgard during a meeting with the Director General of Livestock and Animal Health Services, Dr I Ketut Diarmita in Jakarta, on May 28.

    The Ministry of Agriculture noted that the annual number of poultry avian influenza outbreaks dropped from 2,751 in 2007 to 476 in 2018. Avian Influenza is caused by a virus that attacks all domestic poultry including chickens, ducks and quail. The disease that can be transmitted to humans with some strains causing a high mortality rate. Indonesia has suffered from the bird flu virus since August 2003 with virus spread to many regions of the country over the years. In order to protect human health and poultry production in the country, the Government supported intensive bird flu control campaigns.

    Ketut expressed his appreciation to FAO for its contribution to the control of Avian Influenza in Indonesia. Many successes have been achieved under the cooperation framework between the Government and FAO. Currently, bird flu control is focused on improving farm biosecurity, disease prevention through flock vaccination and certification of compartments as free from Avian Influenza. Another element of the program supports monitoring the dynamics of bird flu viruses circulating in the field to produce effective local poultry vaccines to protect farmers’ flocks.

    This strategy has succeeded in reducing Avian Flu cases on farms and certifying commercial farms as AI-free compartments. AI-free certification makes Indonesian poultry products exportable to several Asian countries said Ketut. "Countries like Japan, which have very high animal health requirements, will accept Indonesian poultry products in recognition of Indonesian animal health and food safety guarantees," he added.

    Team Leader of the FAO Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (FAO ECTAD Indonesia) James McGrane said that the close collaboration between the Government of Indonesia and FAO should be continued under a new Emerging Disease Threats program to guarantee long-term sustainable impact.

    "The continuation of this international cooperation will strengthen Indonesia's capacity to protect people and their livelihoods from transboundary animal disease threats," McGrane said.

    Ketut welcomed the offer of continued collaboration with FAO and hoped that joint activities would bring maximum benefits for the development of livestock production and animal health in Indonesia.