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Sub Regional forum on avian influenza underway

Jun 8, 2010, 2:01 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

A five-day sub-regional training of trainers for the joint rapid response teams comprising experts from agriculture, health and wildlife sectors from English-speaking West Africa on Avian and Human Influenza is currently underway at the Senegambia Beach Hotel.

Supported by the African Union International Bureau for Animal Resource AU/IBAR, the training, which drew participants from all English-speaking West African countries was coordinated under the Ministry of Agriculture.

In his official opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary No. 2 at the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Abdourahman Jobe noted with gratitude that The Gambia government has recognised the important role of AU-IBAR in the development of the animal resources sector in the African continent.

According to Mr. Jobe, AU has been instrumental in the eradication of rinderpest and contagious Bovine Pleuro Pneumonia (CBPP) in The Gambia and other African countries through projects and programmes, such as the Joint Project 15 (JP15), Pan-African Rinderpest Control Programme (PARC) and the Pan-African Programme for the control of epizootic.

Mr. Jobe revealed that since the first reported outbreak of highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the African continent in 2006, The Gambia has stepped up activities geared towards building and strengthening national capacities to deal with the disease. He asserted that The Gambia government has been working very closely with AU- IBAR, through the support programme to Integrated National Action Plans for Avian and Human influenza.

According to Jobe, the implementation of SPINAP programme in the country has significantly contributed to raising the level of awareness of the population about Avian Influenza. He added that it has also contributed to building capacity in disease surveillance and laboratory diagnosis, as well as increase bio-security at poultry farms.

For his part, the AU- IBAR Regional Coordinator, Dr. Babucarr Jaw thanked The Gambia government for hosting this important sub-regional forum.

He noted that the aim of the forum is for experts from various countries to meet and share ideas about the issue of Avian Influenza and see the best strategy to combat the menace on the continent.

Dr. Jaw further stated that the best way to achieve this is by coming together and sharing ideas. He also stressed the need for proper integration in our continent to address the trans-boundary disease.

The occasion was chaired by Dr. Kebba Daffeh, Head of Animal Health at Abuko Veterinary Service, who also buttressed on the danger of the disease, noting that the training is timely.