A new ad campaign against bird flu funded by Japanese government and produced by Unicef, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, features Jackie Chan along with six children from different countries and some colorful origami birds urging children to stay away from dead birds.
In the advertisement shot in English at Sha Tin Junior School in May, the film star and martial arts expert who is goodwill ambassador for the United Nations children's fund Unicef, urges the youngsters to stay away from dead or sick birds, warning them that bird flu can be transmitted to humans. He then adds that playing with paper birds is fine.
In a statement Chan said "it was great to work with this group of children on something that concerns Asia and the entire world. This is not about creating alarm, but helping children to be more alert and careful. When it comes to bird flu, we don't want to take any chances with our kids."
A Unicef spokeswoman in Bangkok said Chan was chosen for the campaign because of his international appeal, particularly among Asians. "He is a role model and he combines a sense of seriousness and a sense of play for children," the spokeswoman said adding that she hoped the ad would be picked up by TV stations across Asia.
The current avian flu outbreak began in Asia in late 2003 and worldwide 139 people have so far succumbed to the disease and most of them are from Asia. The ad campaign hopes to spread awareness about the dangers of bird flu and how they can be spread through contact with dead or sick birds.