Beijing, April 26, 2007 – The World Bank and Chinese government launch the Capacity Building Project for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Prevention and Human Influenza Pandemic Preparedness in Beijing today. The project, funded by a grant of US$2.65 million from the Avian and Human Influenza Facility managed by the World Bank, aims to improve China's capacity in early warning and surveillance, prevent and control the outbreak of avian influenza and preparedness for human pandemic influenza, and minimize the impact of the two diseases on China's economic and social development.
"This project represents continued collaboration between the Government and the World Bank on avian and human influenza prevention and control, after the Joint Assessment of Country Framework for Avian Influenza Control and Human Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response in December 2005, and the International Pledging Conference on Avian Influenza and Human Pandemic Influenza in Beijing in January 2006," said Elaine Sun, Operations Manager of the World Bank's Office in Beijing. " We hope this project will contribute to capacity building at the grass-root level for HPAI prevention and human influenza pandemic preparedness."
Avian influenza outbreaks have been escalating globally in the recent years. It on average caused an economic loss ranging from 0.6 percent to 2 percent of GDP in some of affected countries in this region. Many infectious disease experts believe that human pandemic influenza is inevitable. It was estimated that future pandemic may result in a loss of more than 5 percent of world GDP or US$2 trillion per annum. The two diseases have the potential to compromise global and countries' effort on growth, development and poverty reduction.
China faces an even greater risk from the two diseases because (a) it houses 25 percent of world chickens, 87 percent of geese and 65 percent of ducks, and more than 60 percent of them are backyard farmed; (b) it has the world largest human population; (c) three migratory bird flyways pass across the country; and (d) its veterinary services and human health services are in need for urgent development, particularly at grass root level. The unpredictability of influenza virus and its capacity for increased transmissibility imply that prevention and preparedness for the diseases have to be made as early as possible.
This two-year project will provide training in ten counties of Anhui and Liaoning provinces, review and improve national HPAI prevention and control strategy, enhance human influenza pandemic preparedness planning and response capacity of the project provinces and counties, and strengthen detecting, diagnosing and reporting capacity of agriculture and health departments at grass-root level. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health are the executing agencies.
The launch workshop was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and project provinces and counties, EU, the Government of Australia, WHO, FAO and the World Bank.