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Avian Influenza poses real threat to livelihood - DPS Agriculture

Aug 31, 2010, 11:57 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Deputy Permanent Secretary and Finance Administrator at the Ministry of Agriculture, Sheriffo Bojang, has highlighted the dangers of avian Influenza, noting that the disease still poses a real threat to the lives and livelihood of millions of peoples around the world, to economic and human health.

Bojang was speaking on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture at the opening ceremony of the West and Central Africa Diagnostic Veterinary Laboratory Network sub-regional forum on quality assurance in veterinary laboratory. The training is being attended by national laboratory directors and quality assurance managers from five English-speaking countries in West Africa namely, Ghana, Liberia Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

Mr. Bojang said that since the first reported outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Aviance Influenza (HPAI) in the African continent in 2006, The Gambia has greatly stepped up activities geared towards building and strengthening national capacities to deal with diseases.

"Avian influenza has not been reported in the Gambia. However, the disease has already been reported in eleven (11) African countries, most of them in the West African sub region," he said, adding that active surveillance of the disease is ongoing in the Gambia and other countries in the sub region.

He stated that the workshop is in line with the training needs to strengthen the diagnostic capacity of the central veterinary laboratory, animal health and production services.

According to him, the Gambia government commits itself to a harmonized, coordinated, multidisciplinary and partnership building approach as the most effective way of dealing with the diseases.

The workshop and a host of others, he added, serve as testimony to the commitment of the Gambia government to the partnership approach in dealing with avian Influenza and other transboundary animal diseases.

For his part, Dr Babagana Ahmadu, FAO country representative, said the incursion of highly pathogenic avian influenza HRNI in Africa, in early 2006, has attracted the attention of the international community to the African continent’s veterinary services weaknesses, and laid the foundation for the launching of the network of Western and Central African Veterinary diagnostic laboratories for avian influenza.

Ms. Cindy Gregg charge d’affaires  at the US Embassy said it is wonderful that animal and plant health inspection services of the US Department of Agriculture and FAO could come together to offer this important training. According to her, improving management practice, testing and quality control is key in the fight against avian influenza and other transboundary diseases.