Oct 19, 2010, 1:25 PM
A five-day regional workshop on practical tools for surveillance, diagnosis, prevention and control of major transboundry animal diseases (TADs) is underway at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Senegambia.
The training brought together participants from The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia as well as experts from South Africa.
The department of Animal Health and Production Services under the Ministry of Agriculture, in partnership with USDA, USAID and AFRICOM, organised the event.
In his opening statement, Sherifo Bojang, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, expressed profound gratitude and happiness that the country is hosting and organizing the sub-regional training workshop.
He also thanked the United States Department of Agriculture and its partners USAID, AFRICOM and others for their support.
DPS Bojang further stated that in spite of continuing efforts by countries and their partners to prevent and control TADS, these diseases still remain the most important factor limiting livestock production and productivity in the West African sub-region with considerable negative impacts on household food security, income generation, rural poverty and public health.
He added that in The Gambia and indeed in some of the other countries of the sub-region TADs, like Pests des Petits Ruminant (PPR) in sheep and goats, New Castle Diseases in poultry and African swine fever pigs, are the main causes of morbidity and mortality in the concerned species.
He also said that worldwide, TADs poses a real threat to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, as well as to the economy cognizant of the fact that, the Government of The Gambia commits itself to harmonised, coordinated and partnership building approach as the most effective way in dealing with these diseases, since disease has no borders.
In her speech, Dr Connie Bacon USDA/USAID Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Adviser, said that today, TADs constitute a major constraint to livestock development in sub-Saharan Africa, due to the heavy losses they cause (20% of losses according FAO).
She added that animal disease also imposes an additional burden on the budgets dedicated to the raising of genetically improved animals, saying the mere presence of such diseases destroys any prospect of access to lucrative international markets.
The countries’ efforts are still largely inadequate compared to the significant amount of resources needed to support veterinary services to monitor, diagnose and control these diseases, she said.
Dr Bacon said the objective of the workshop, which is the collaborative effort of AFRICOM-USAID/USDA-APHIS, stays in line with this context in contributing to strengthening the capacities of veterinary services to monitor, report and control major transboundary animal disease such as peste des petits ruminants, and African swine fever.