In his weekly radio address to the nation, Victor Yushchenko said he had signed a decree to efficiently fight dangerous infectious diseases. According to this document, a program on the prevention of bird flu should be approved by March 1, 2006.

“Our most important challenge is to protect each Ukrainian from the potential virus and support the agrarian sector and economy that can incur great losses if a pandemic emerges,” he said.

The Head of State pointed out that the government would work in four directions.

The first step is mass vaccination. Yushchenko said the World Health Organization had already urged its European bureau to develop a vaccine and anti-viral medications.

“I think our laboratories have enough ideas that might help us discover this anti-flu vaccine,” Yushchenko said.

He reiterated that medical institutes in Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa and Kyiv had been once known all over the world for their great inventions. The President called on poultry companies to help the scientists and support their research intended to combat bird flu.

The government must also permanently monitor the bird flu situation in Ukraine. Yushchenko said there were more than thirty labs in the public health system that can diagnose the virus but they must be reequipped.

The third measure would be to compensate for the loss of poultry.

“Apart from the material compensation, the government will launch special programs to promote cattle breeding. The government and local authorities will take care of all farmers that lost their birds,” he said and reiterated that in Crimea they had paid the locals almost 1.5 million hryvnyas.

The fourth direction would be propagandistic and educational.

“I urge the mass media to support the government in this work,” he remarked.

Yushchenko said, according to his decree, the government would alsohave to formulate and introduce draft laws on public health policies and epidemical welfare of the population by June 1, 2006.

“The world unites in its fight against the disease. We must realize that the challenge is really serious and leave all speculations and mobilize our efforts tostop the danger,” he said.


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