LILONGWE, March 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Malawi has requested 400,000 U.S. dollars aids from its international donors for a possible bird flu outbreak, according to reports reached here on Friday.
Malawi's Health Minister Hetherwick Ntaba said his country has already met the donors to request them to provide the impoverished southern African nation with the initial 400,000 U.S. dollars to help Malawians for preparing any likely outbreak.
However, Ntaba said his country would require a total of about 2 million U.S. dollars to effectively deal with any possible bird flu outbreak.
He said his country has every reason to get prepared for a likely bird flu attack now that the deadly H5N1 strain has been detected on the African continent in countries like Nigeria, Egypt, Niger and Cameroon.
Ntaba said that most poor African countries like Malawi could not effectively deal with any bird flu outbreak with their own resources but would require financial and technical assistance from western countries.
"Disasters of this nature require involvement of the rich nations to make sure that they are controlled and contained properly," he said.
The minister made the remarks after a recent call by World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Lee Jong-Wook, who asked African governments to set up special funds to help fight the deadly bird flu instead of waiting for donor assistance.
Although there has not reported any bird flu case, the country was gripped with a major bird flu scare three months ago when thousands of migratory birds mysteriously died in a hill in the central district of Ntchisi, some 200 km east of the capital, Lilongwe.
Thousands of the Fork-tailed Drongo or Dicrurus Adsimilis dropped dead in the district prompting authorities to send tissue samples of the dead birds to a laboratory in South Africa, where the presence of any type of flu was ruled out.
Malawi has imposed an indefinite import ban on all poultry products from all sources as a preventative measure against bird flu. Enditem