Rural institutional development

Control of avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases and pandemic preparedness and response

Highly pathogenic avian influenza
In late 2003, outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) began in several countries in Southeast Asia, followed by outbreaks in Europe. They have had a detrimental effect on the poultry industry and have raised serious global health concerns.

In 2005, the virus began to spread from Southeast Asia in a northwest direction. In August, an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza virus in poultry was confirmed in four regions of northern and central Kazakhstan. The outbreaks are believed to have resulted from contact between domestic and wild birds that spread disease from infected neighboring countries. Poultry production was adversely affected, with about 15,000 birds killed in Kyrgyzstan. Outbreaks in China have occurred in areas close to Kyrgyzstan.

Central Asian countries are more likely to introduce HPAI as they have little opportunity for early detection of HPAI. Seasonal migrations of birds contribute to the active transfer of the virus across different geographic regions. Kyrgyzstan is located at the intersection of the migration route of migratory birds. Fortunately, there have been no reported cases of avian influenza in the Kyrgyz Republic to date, but there is still a risk of an outbreak.

Communication strategy
In 2006, the RDF conducted a rapid public awareness survey on avian influenza to prepare a communication program for responding to the avian influenza pandemic. All these years, various state institutions and international organizations have carried out communication programs on many zoonotic diseases. Most often, information materials were disseminated and disseminated through the Health Promotion Center, health committees, the network of veterinary laboratories, as well as local governments. The content of the materials related to zoonotic diseases most often describes the work with animals and protective equipment. The information is intended for those people who are directly involved in pets. Television has not yet been used as one of the main sources of information through which information about zoonotic diseases and avian influenza would be actively transmitted.

Objective of the project
The study aimed to determine the level of awareness and preparedness of various segments of the population about avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases, and to assess the impact and effectiveness of past and present communication efforts.

The effectiveness and efficiency of the dissemination of information materials depends on the regularity of alerting the population, combining communication campaigns with veterinary and environmental measures: vaccination of livestock, caring for livestock in accordance with zootechnical rules, conducting environmental health improvement (water, pastures, soil), as well as timely identification of sick animals and timely slaughter.

Thus, in order to effectively confront the impact of a pandemic and be prepared for unexpected cases of disease, it is necessary to identify the public's awareness of the disease and its consequences. This is why a study was organized by the RDF and commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Research objectives
- determination of the general level of awareness of the population about avian influenza and the perception of the risks of the spread of the disease;
- study of socio-cultural habits and practices related to issues of livestock and poultry products, including backyard poultry, farming and trade;
- determining the level of preparedness to act in the event of a pandemic;
- identification of the most effective and accessible channels of information delivery;
- monitoring and assessing the impact of the ongoing communication campaign (information, training) among the population;
- providing timely recommendations to improve the communication campaign.

Place of implementation
The survey was conducted in all regions of the country with a sample of 1200 respondents. The study used both quantitative and qualitative research methods.

The main activity of the project
Commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Kyrgyz Republic, in 2010, RDF conducted a nationwide survey on public awareness of outbreaks of avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases.

  sociological survey   (questioning) was carried out in 3 stages: control check, spot check, final assessment. The survey was conducted by professional interviewers who were previously trained in the research methodology and were thoroughly familiar with the questionnaires.

In-depth, in-depth interviews were conducted with key informants and stakeholders. Most of the interviews were conducted with specialists from the Department of State Sanitary and Epidemiological Supervision under the Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republican Center of Kara