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West Java Goes Own Way On Avian Flu Management

London, UK (UPI) Oct 06, 2006
West Java, the Indonesian province worst-hit by avian influenza, has opted out of a government-backed special commission on public bird-flu education, saying it will instead focus its efforts on improving its existing bird-flu-prevention team. Yudi Prayudha, head of West Java's provincial health office, said the decision was taken as a means of improving the existing fight against avian influenza in the worst-hit province of the world's worst-hit country, the Jakarta Post reported.
"What is the use of a decree on the establishment of a special commission? What we need is to intensify our work in the field," Yudi said.
While officials from the ministries of health, agriculture and education, with support from provincial representatives, are currently meeting to outline the objectives and methodologies of the national commission, Yudi said that he was not interested in the meetings' outcomes, and that the more important task was to educate the public -- particularly schoolchildren -- about avian influenza and its dangers through aggressive campaigning.
Indonesia's doctors and nurses were failing to take the growing problem seriously, Yudi said.
"Just look at (bird flu victim IJ), who died at a private hospital without getting the necessary medication after being treated for four hours there," the Jakarta Post quoted Yudi as saying. IJ's brother died of avian influenza five days later, in hospital.
A key problem, Yudi told the Jakarta Post, was that the West Java local authorities had yet to allocate specific funds to treating local avian influenza infections (photo above: File photo: An Indonesian woman cleans chickens in a Jakarta market. Photo courtesy of AFP.)

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