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2007.04.03
* UNICEF: Education and awareness help contain bird flu in Nigeria * Shoot Date: 08 Mar 2007 The coastal city of Lagos is the most populous place in Nigeria, if not in all of Africa. When Nigeria uncovered its first human case of avian influenza, it struck here. In December 2006, a housewife bought some chickens in a market like this. Three weeks later, her 22-year-old daughter died of the disease. Prior to this first human casualty, outbreaks among poultry have also been reported throughout Nigeria, causing widespread panic and economic loss. Soundbite (Yoruba), Ms. Yusuf, poultry seller: “Before the rumour of bird flu came out saying that people shouldn’t eat chicken, I would normally sell 40-60 birds within a week, but now, I only sell about 10 in 2-3 weeks.” By handling live birds daily, slaughtering and plucking them, poultry sellers like these are putting themselves at high risk. The unsanitary conditions also threaten the wellbeing of children. Brought to the cramped market by their mothers who work here, they often nap or play close to the birdcages. This announcer from the Lagos local government is asking the vendors and shoppers in the market to come to a bird flu awareness meeting. Quarrels break out when he runs into the poultry sellers, many are still in denial. Soundbite (Yoruba), Kudirat Fasasi, Leader of poultry sellers in Ikotun market: “As you can see, people are buying chickens and slaughtering them for eating. The bird flu you are talking about does not concern us here.” After intense persuasion, some of the women from the market came to the meeting. Together, with other women representing different communities, they learn what bird flu is and how to protect themselves and their families. Soundbite (Yoruba), Ms. Anuoluwapo, poultry seller: “Before, I thought that the bird flu campaign was a way to spoil our business. But now that I have come to this sensitizing meeting, I now know what it is. Now, all that we ought to do about cleanliness and hygiene, we will do.” With funding provided by the Japanese Government, UNICEF is committed to helping Nigeria halt the spread of avian influenza. The work will continue till the entire public is educated and empowered, knowing what precautions they can take against this deadly threat. In Lagos, Nigeria, this is Kun Li reporting for UNICEF Television. Unite for children.
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