Iowa Public Television


UN: Funding Insufficient to Fight Bird Flu

posted on February 25, 2005

The international community needs to spend at least $100 million to combat bird flu -- five times more than the "glaringly insufficient" amount provided last year, a U.N. official said this week.

The call for funding came after international health experts at a bird flu conference said there still is time to avoid what is being called the world's biggest health threat by stemming the virus at its source, ensuring that people and farm animals in Asia are sealed off from infected carriers.

"I see an alarming lack of commitment from donors and affected governments," Dr. Samuel Jutzi, an official with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, said at the three-day conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. "I perceive a lack of political will in supporting efforts to reduce the risk."

Countries last year gave only about $18 million to fund an emergency response to the bird flu outbreak, he said. That amount, when compared to the magnitude of the threat, is "glaringly insufficient," Jutzi said.

Tags: animals birds diseases influenza news United Nations