This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DJIBOUTI 001156
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: TBIO SENV ECON EAGR EAID PREL DJ SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR INFORMATION: DJIBOUTI'S ABILITY TO HANDLE AVIAN AND PANDEMIC INFLUENZA
REF: STATE 209622
1. (U) Summary: Djibouti has very little capacity to handle avian and pandemic influenza. Responses below are keyed to questions in reftel. End Summary.
2. (U) Preparedness/Communication:
-- Djibouti does not have a plan/strategy for preventing avian flu from becoming a pandemic and containing a pandemic once it occurs. It does not have sufficient capability to implement such a plan. Djibouti has not yet produced a plan, but has been talking about writing one.
-- Djibouti will report a case, if they are aware of it, however, since they have no surveillance system for even basic diseases among humans or animals, it is more likely than not that they will not know. We do not believe any incentives are needed for transparency should the Government of Djibouti discover a case.
-- Preparing for an avian flu pandemic does not rank very high among government priorities. We are not certain there is a certain person or action that could influence Djibouti to give the issue higher priority. The Minister of Health is the primary point of contact to engage on this issue.
-- Post has no knowledge that Djibouti has or has not reviewed its national laws to ensure they are consistent with international health regulations and do not pose barriers to avian flu detection, reporting, containment, or response.
-- Djibouti is currently working with international organizations to a small degree on the avian flu issue. Post is certain Djibouti will seek assistance from the US or other countries should the need arise. Post believes government leaders would be receptive to messages through all channels. Djibouti would want money and technical assistance in return for its efforts on the avian flu. It is important to note that Djibouti has asked chicken importers to stop importing from Asia due to the recent developments on Avian Flu.
-- Djibouti does not currently administer annual flu shots, but may consider doing so if it were funded by outside sources. The Government does not have a budget to cover such an expense. Djibouti has no production capability for human influenza vaccines. Djibouti does not produce influenza vaccine for poultry , nor H5N1 vaccines, and does not have a poultry industry. Licensing and liability shields issues are not applicable in this case.
-- The population of Djibouti is not very well informed about the avian flu threat. However, since there is no poultry industry or lacustrine environment, the threat is relatively low compared to other African countries. Radio and community announcement systems are available for providing additional information to the population, particularly in rural areas. Radio is fairly effective for spreading messages throughout the country.
3. (U) Surveillance/Detection
-- Medical and agricultural sectors are not at all capable of detecting a new strain of influenza among people or animals. All diagnosis would have to be made outside the country as there is no capacity to do so in country. Samples would have to be shipped to another country. Influenza viruses cannot be subtyped in the country. In past polio cases, samples were sent to a WHO reference laboratory.
-- Djibouti has no effective systems in place for any disease surveillance, not even the most basic and common, such as polio, diarrhea, malaria, etc. The greatest need in this area is assisting the government in building from the ground up an entire disease surveillance system for all diseases, not just Avian Flu.
4. (U) Response/Containment -- Djibouti does not have a stockpile of medications, particularly of antivirals. To date, nothing has been ordered, but some discussion on whether to order some has occurred.
-- Djibouti does not have a stockpile of pre-positioned personal protective gear for humans working with poultry, nor for health care personnel working with sick people.
-- There is little to no rapid response capacity for animal and human outbreaks. There are guidelines in place for the culling and vaccination of birds, disinfection of facilities, and limitations of animal movement.
-- Djibouti is willing, but not very capable, of imposing quarantines and social distancing measures. This is due to extremely porous borders and mass transit being the only means of earning a small daily income for a large portion of the population. Schools could be closed if necessary. Post believees Djibouti's military would enforce quarantines if called upon. However, Post does not know what the general policy is and there is no strategy currently in place for such an event. Post has been told a strategy is being formed.