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ADB standing by to help India with Avian Bird Flu

Written by: Staff
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Manila, Mar 28: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lauded India's handling of the Bird Flu epidemic and has offered all possible assistance in combating its outbreak.

Top officials here, however, stress the need for maintaining complete transparency at the level of State governments so that there was no attempt to camoublage cases of its outbreak.

Assuring any kind of help the Indian government may need, ADB experts say, the country has responded remarkably well in combating its outbreak.

''India's response has been correct and immediate,'' ADB Principal Health Specialist Jacques Jeugmans told a visiting Indian delegation of journalists.

''But provincial governments need to maintain complete transparency. The Central government must make sure that there is no possibility on the part of these governments to hide the outbreak of Bird Flu cases,'' Mr Jeugmans said.

He, however, admitted that there was no evidence with the ADB of attempts in India to put such cases under the carpet.

ADB officials also desired that a mechanism needs to be developed to assist farmers on a sustained basis when they are thrown out of jobs, as a result of farmers giving up poultry rearing. There was need for safety nets for farmers working on fields where such activity is given up.

''If there is any lack of information we are ready to help,'' Mr Jeugmans remarked.

He, however, clarified that the Indian government has made no attempt so far to seek assistance of any kind, including availing funds from the 38 million dollar grant fund.

The Fund was launched recently by the Manila-based multilateral funding agency to counter the immediate threat to the Asia and Pacific region posed by the Avian Influenza.

UNI

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