Avian Flu Awareness and Prevention
The first instance of avian influenza (AI) in the Ukraine was detected around Sivash Lake in Crimea, in October 2005. In February 2006, IRD began a public awareness campaign and to strengthen community-based surveillance through a USAID-funded program to monitor AI in Crimea. In September 2006 the program was expanded to five high-risk southeastern regions, and in September 2007 to 14 of the country’s 24 regions. The program has reached approximately 2.5 million people through a variety of activities.
IRD established a network of master and field trainers prepared to educate communities on the risks and prevention of the disease and to respond to potential outbreaks. So far, more than 40 master trainers and 830 field trainers have been trained. In turn, they trained nearly 22,000 specialists using a peer education approach.
IRD has trained local veterinarians and healthcare providers in outbreak management, and assisted local officials and community leaders in creating preparedness plans. IRD has also educated journalists on the details of avian influenza as well as the importance of providing accurate information about the disease to the public.
Public Awareness and Education
With the help of the trainers, IRD is familiarizing the general public in Crimea with AI safety procedures through one-on-one information sharing. Community outreach activities and media campaigns also serve to improve community awareness. IRD uses an interactive and entertaining education approach to educate rural residents about AI through publications, door-to door visits, interactive theater performances, fairs, village meetings, drawing contests and exhibitions, contests for the most sanitary households, youth mobile teams, and folk performances.
Posters, leaflets, public service announcements, and television and radio programs have reached tens of thousands of people in high-risk areas. So far, over 100,000 people have been educated about AI by peer trainers. More than 23,000 rural residents have attended musical and theater performances about AI.
School-based campaign activities such as dictation writing, drawing contests, and youth teams, have reached 2.2 million school children. Youth teams have visited over 13,000 households with AI prevention messages to determine the winner of the best AI practices household contest.
IRD organizes and supports 14 mobile teams, one for monitoring and prevention activities in each of the rural regions. So far, these teams have reached over 200,000 persons with AI prevention messages. They also monitor the health of both wild and domestic birds in their regions and report any unexplained deaths to health authorities.
In addition, IRD has conducted avian influenza public awareness campaigns and containment activities within the context of existing programs in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Iraq.