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Thai-Myanmar border communities prepare for avian flu
www.chinaview.cn 2006-01-25 12:45:07

    BANGKOK, Jan. 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Health workers from refugee camps and migrant communities on the Thai-Myanmar border will meet with local officials and international donors in Tak province of Thailand on Friday to review contingency plans to cope with a possible outbreak of bird flu, the Thai News Agency said Wednesday.

    The workshop, co-organized by the provincial public health office and three international agencies -- the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations' Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) -- will take place in Tak and is expected to attract over 70 delegates from the provincial government, international organizations, UN agencies and non-government organizations ( NGOs) as well as embassies, theNews Agency disclosed.

    Organizers hope that the meeting will help to identify key elements of an avian flu preparedness plan in an attempt to protect refugees and migrants living in crowded camps and communities in close proximity to their livestock, along Tak province's border with neighboring Myanmar, according to the News Agency.

    "We also expect to come up with guidelines and a plan of actionfor preventing or controlling an outbreak," said Jaime Calderon, who coordinates IOM's migrant health program in Thailand. "These would include clinical management and referral mechanisms, as wellas public health management, surveillance and containment mechanisms, and resource management," he added.

    Speakers at the workshop will include representatives of WHO, the Thai Ministry of Public Health, Tak provincial officials responsible for public health and livestock, and local providers of health services to the Myanmar migrant community.

    Aide Medicale International (AMI) and the American Refugee Committee (ARC), two international NGO's that provide health services in Tak's refugee camps, will also report on their level of preparedness to deal with an outbreak of the disease.

    Speaking at a conference in Beijing last week, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for a global push to prepare for the possibility of an avian flu pandemic. At the meeting the international community pledged 1.9 billion U.S. dollars to combatthe disease in the worldwide. Enditem

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