Media campaign on bird flu: Indonesia

04-09-2006 | |

After international criticism of its attempts to fight bird flu, Indonesia has launched a month-long, nationwide media campaign today to advise people of what precautions to take against H5N1 avian influenza.

Public service announcements will highlight the importance of washing your hands after handling poultry, and properly cooking poultry meat and eggs.

The campaign is also encouraging people to keep poultry out of their homes and promptly report sick birds to authorities, as well as to seek treatment for illnesses that follow contact with poultry.

“We want bird flu to become part of history,” said Bayu Krisnamurthi, head of the country’s avian flu commission in the Jakarta Post.

The campaign is sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Japanese government and supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

A UNICEF official in Indonesia, Gianfranco Rotigliano, warned that the government faces a “huge challenge” in trying to teach the rural population about avian flu, given the country’s great size and many ethnic groups.

The government said last month that about 30 million families keep backyard chickens, and during avian flu containment efforts, many refuse to turn in their birds despite offers of compensation.

Indonesia has had 60 human cases of H5N1 infection, 46 of them fatal, the second highest case count (after Vietnam) and the highest death toll.

Read a related news article about the WHO’s response to Indonesia’s efforts to fight bird flu.