Thailand launches AI campaign in schools

11-10-2006 | |
Thailand launches AI campaign in schools

A school-based campaign aimed at helping Thai children and their families protect themselves from the threat of avian influenza has been launched by the Thailand Ministry of Education (MOE).

The campaign will cover all 40,000 elementary and secondary schools in the country, promoting frequent hand washing, rapid reporting of sick and dead poultry and other key behaviours needed to prevent the spread of the deadly H5N1 virus that causes avian influenza.
Under the campaign, two million posters and two million pamphlets carrying avian influenza awareness and prevention messages are being distributed to all schools, along with a newly-developed curriculum on bird flu.
“This is just the beginning of integrated efforts to prevent the spread of avian influenza in Thailand,” said Dr Kasama, MOE Permanent Secretary.
As part of the campaign’s hygiene promotion component, 300,000 bars of soap will also be distributed to elementary schools across the country. The posters, pamphlets and curriculum were developed through UNICEF support, with funding provided by the Government of Japan.
The Thailand Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), together with the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, provided technical support in the development of campaign materials, while Kenan Institute Asia designed the curriculum.
Seventeen people – 11 of them children under the age of 18 – have died of avian influenza in Thailand since the first confirmed human H5N1 case was recorded here in early 2004.  Bird flu outbreaks have occurred in domestic poultry in at least 30 provinces, and authorities have been forced to destroy millions of ducks and chickens to thwart the spread of the virus, resulting in severe economic losses for poultry farmers.