USAID, U.S. Embassy Response to H1N1 (Swine) Flu in Albania

Date: 2009-08-05
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TIRANA, AUGUST 4, 2009 In cooperation with Albania’s Ministry of Health, the Institute of Public Health, and UNICEF, USAID/Albania and the U.S. Embassy in Tirana launched a public information campaign to raise awareness on how Albanians can protect themselves from contracting the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu. Since its discovery in May, swine flu, an illness that mainly affects the respiratory system and is transmitted by person to person contact, has spread rapidly across the globe. According to the World Health Organization the virus is classified as a global pandemic. In July, Albania confirmed its first case of swine flu.




(Media-Newswire.com) - TIRANA, AUGUST 4, 2009 In cooperation with Albania’s Ministry of Health, the Institute of Public Health, and UNICEF, USAID/Albania and the U.S. Embassy in Tirana launched a public information campaign to raise awareness on how Albanians can protect themselves from contracting the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu. Since its discovery in May, swine flu, an illness that mainly affects the respiratory system and is transmitted by person to person contact, has spread rapidly across the globe. According to the World Health Organization the virus is classified as a global pandemic. In July, Albania confirmed its first case of swine flu.

In an interview with Vitrina Mjeksore, a popular health magazine in Albania, the U.S. Embassy Health Envoy, Ms. Jill Barnes, explained how the public could reduce their exposure and risk of contracting the virus by following good hygiene practices like hand washing and covering ones mouth when sneezing or coughing.

“Ongoing outbreaks of H1N1 flu (swine flu) in humans and H5N1 avian influenza in birds have significant global health, economic, and social consequences that are a challenge to every country’s health system,” said Barnes. “As Albania heads into its normal influenza season, it will be important for public health practitioners to rapidly detect influenza outbreaks and immediately notify national and international health authorities so that a timely and effective response can be made. We hope this information campaign will help in this effort.”

Posters and flyers have been translated into Albanian and have been distributed to every health clinic, and hospital, as well as high volume transit points throughout the country. USAID H1N1 materials can also be found at the Mother Teresa International airport and the ports of Durres and Vlora for tourists.

USAID has committed $543 million to support its Avian and Pandemic Influenza prevention and preparedness activities across the globe since 2005, of which $1 million has supported the Government of Albania’s efforts to strengthen the capacity of these sectors and help prepare emergency response capabilities. USAID has also provided lab equipment, detection and diagnostic supplies, protective clothing, and disinfectant materials to the Albanian Avian Influenza Task Force to help detect and combat future outbreaks of the virus.

For more health information about the H1N1 Flu in English, please visit: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu.