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* US grants Rs. 110 million for Avian Influenza Surveillance program in Sri Lanka
Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 12:39 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 03, Colombo: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided over Rs. 110 million to Sri Lanka to conduct an Avian Pandemic Influenza Surveillance program.

The CDC will provide US $852,050 in yearly installments to the Epidemiology Unit of Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health for the next five years (2014 - 2018) to conduct the National Avian / Pandemic Influenza Programme.

Sri Lanka is considered to be in high risk category for H5Nl Avian influenza due to its geographical location in the South East Asian Region, existence of a considerable backyard poultry industry and its popularity as a destination for migratory birds.

Human and animal influenza surveillance in Sri Lanka began in 2005 as part of the avian influenza preparedness program. With World Bank funding, the Ministry of Health established 20 sentinel hospitals, each of which set up influenza-like illness (ILI) surveillance. CDC funds are now used to help maintain the ILI surveillance in these and carry out the surveillance in three of the 20 sentinel sites.

The proposal made by Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena to proceed with the activities relating to the programme has received Cabinet approval.

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