26 Oct 2005

Australia to help fund bird flu fight in Pacific

5:17 pm on 26 October 2005

Australia says it will give Pacific Island nations 6 million US dollars over four years to help them prepare for a possible avian flu or other pandemic.

This was announced in Papua New Guinea by the Australian prime minister, John Howard, who has flown to Madang to the Pacific Islands Forum leaders' retreat.

Mr Howard says while all countries need to take precautions in relation to avian flu, many of the countries in the Pacific area don't have the resources or the infrastructure.

He says the funds will be used to help strengthen national and regional quarantine systems, infection prevention and control programs and animal health surveillance systems.