The emergence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and the subsequent threat of a global human pandemic have been issues of great concern to the international community in recent years. HPAI outbreaks can have substantial costs, not only in terms of the loss of poultry upon which many smallholders’ livelihoods depend, but also in terms of infrastructure, disease control and prevention measures, and wide-spread market shocks.
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Shenggen Fan discusses IFPRI's work on avian flu.
This DFID (United Kingdom Department for International Development)-funded study aims to aid decision makers in developing pro-poor HPAI control and prevention strategies that are not only cost-effective but will also enhance the livelihoods of the rural poor in developing countries. The project will inform policy processes at the national and regional level, as well as build capacity for evidence-based formulation of pro-poor disease control strategies within the project countries. The project is conducting research in countries where HPAI is endemic or high risk (such as Indonesia), in countries where there have been sporadic outbreaks of the disease (such as Ghana and Nigeria), and in countries where there have been no outbreaks but where scares have put the country’s veterinary services on red alert and affected consumer confidence in poultry products (Ethiopia and Kenya). Main areas of research include the following:
- What are the pathways by which HPAI can spread, and where are the critical control points for mitigation of HPAI risk in each study country, given the over-arching objective of averting a global human pandemic?
- What is the economic impact of HPAI at the national and household level, and what cost-effective control strategies are most likely to be implemented by the poor in each project country? What are the cost-effective control strategies or bio-security measures that are most likely to be implemented (adopted) by the poor in each study country?
- What incentive mechanisms would enable adoption of control and prevention strategies that are both effective and pro-poor in each study country, and how can these be facilitated by interaction with international institutions?
- What type of decision-making and communication processes need to be put in place in each country to ensure that the research findings will be incorporated into that country’s policy of HPAI control and prevention?
- What are the similarities and differences among various control and prevention strategies and among institutions and incentive mechanisms for different countries depending on their epidemiological and economic situation?