Publication Date

January 2005


CARE International in Vietnam, Quality of Life Promotion (LIFE) Centre

According to this 41-page research report, the outbreak of avian influenza (AI also known as avian flu or bird flu) in Vietnam emerged in late 2003. Despite initial containment of the outbreak, the last quarter of 2004 saw a reemergence of AI in Vietnam and the region. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned countries to make the most of time to prepare for hospitals and education campaigns. The 'Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices Study of Small Holder Poultry Raising Farmers in Response to Avian Influenza' study aimed to obtain an in-depth understanding of mainly small-scale rural farmers' knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) on poultry rearing in order to inform health education in regards to AI. The study was conducted with 600 poultry raising farmers through household-based individual interviews and eight focus groups with farming men and women.

Generally, the study found that the respondents were aware of the common infection sources such as infected poultry, their pens, cages etc. However, while almost all studied households reported saving poultry excreta for fertilisers, feeding fish and selling, nearly half of them did not know poultry waste could be an infection source. Almost all confirmed receiving AI information. However, the information provided was general and approximately 40% of them did not receive information on how to kill poultry, or how to clean, rinse and disinfect the farm. One of every three interviewed households confirmed that they did not receive information on symptoms of AI in relation to humans. Even when the people did receive information of taking protective measures to prevent AI transmission to human beings, it did not necessarily result in their practices of those measures. There were a mixture of safe and unsafe poultry keeping practices, occasional washing of farm clothes and infrequent use of protective equipment/tools when handling poultry.

The report proposes that communication messages on AI should emphasise:

  • information of infection sources such as poultry, poultry excreta, wild birds, water supply, food supply, air and transportation contamination;
  • risks of infection to fighting chickens, pet/cage birds, wild birds, pigs and human beings;
  • differences of the danger of AI from other common flu;
  • symptoms in human beings if infected by AI and risks of children to be infected through contacts with poultry and cattle species;
  • keeping poultry in pens or controlled areas and safe practices when raising ducks;
  • effective practices to prevent humans from AI infection such as water and soap, washing farm clothes after having handled poultry and using personal protective tools and equipment while handling poultry; and
  • specific guidelines for disinfection and sterilisation of infection sources.

The report also identified the most effective information sources for poultry farmers being television and commune veterinary staff. Therefore, the report proposes that there is a need to combine various communication mediums to enhance access to AI information, while particularly focusing on the above two mediums.