|Goodwill Ambassador Jackie Chan raises awareness on bird flu prevention||24 August 2006|
Film star and martial arts icon Jackie Chan is used to taking on tough opponents. As a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and UNAIDS since 2004, he has been at the forefront of global efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of HIV.
And now Mr. Chan is using his worldwide fame to battle another looming public-health threat: avian influenza, also known as bird flu.
Along with six very excited children, Mr. Chan stars in a new public service announcement about bird flu prevention. Shot at Sha Tin Junior School in Hong Kong, the video spot delivers a lifesaving message to children and parents in Asia and around the world.
Delivered with a sense of purpose, not panic, the message is simple: Birds can pass on avian influenza to people, so it’s important to stay away from sick and dead birds, especially chickens.
It is a warning that can’t be conveyed too soon. A highly pathogenic form of avian influenza has been on the rise since mid-2003. Two hundred million birds have been killed directly by the virus or culled to prevent its spread. More than 230 human cases, over half of them fatal, have been reported.
Produced by UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Government of Japan, the PSA featuring Mr. Chan aims to show that specific actions can protect children from bird flu.
For all its undeniable seriousness, however, the video spot maintains a light touch that reflects Mr. Chan’s playful interaction with his young co-stars at the Hong Kong shoot. The children, ranging from six to nine years of age, all live in Hong Kong but hail from different parts of the globe, including Nigeria, Myanmar, India, Australia and the United States.
“We’re really happy to be doing this with Jackie Chan,” said one of the children, nine-year-old Labib. “And we feel good that lots of other children will learn something important about bird flu.”
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