The Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Omar Sey yesterday opened a two-day training programme for food safety, animal and plant related for laboratory technicians at the National Public Health Laboratories in Kotu.
Dr. Sey, in his opening remarks stated that his Ministry is working very hard to strengthen food control systems in The Gambia, noting that it is evident by the recent merging of its food hygiene unit to constitute the Food Standards Quality Hygiene Enforcement Directorate and the recent building and commissioning of the National Public Health Laboratories.
He pointed out that laboratories are essential component in food control system, adding that the Ministry is embarking on the development and improvement of capacity-building to provide analytical skills for monitoring foods on the market.
He said capacity would also be built and enhanced for food borne disease surveillance and research so as to provide data for rapid detection and response to outbreaks.
He finally commended the FAO for funding the training and urged participants to take up the training seriously.
Deputising for the FAO representative, Dr. Londa Venderwal, an FAO Consultant at the training, said the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) recognises the excellent work done in The Gambia by the West African Quality Programme and other related projects, to assist laboratories, particularly in the provision of equipment, preparation for accreditation and other valuable assistance.
Dr. Londa noted that the training is intended to complement other ongoing efforts aimed at assisting food safety, animal and plant health laboratories in The Gambia.
Dr. Makie Taal, the Director of the National Public Health Laboratories, chaired the training.