FAO supports government to fight Avian Influenza

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), has signed a Technical Cooperation Agreement with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture towards controlling and eliminating the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Ghana.

The technical assistance is aimed at strengthening the country’s capacity to control and prevent further spread of the disease, hence contain it at its source and better manage the risk factor.

Dr Abebe Haile Gabriel, Deputy FAO’s Regional Representative for Africa and FAO Representative to Ghana speaking at the signing ceremony in Accra said the agreement was under the organisation’s technical co-operation programme worth 413, 000 dollars.

He said the support was an emergency assistance to control the H5N1 outbreaks and mitigate risks for virus spread.

The technical support would focus on capacity strengthening interventions particularly on improving veterinary service laboratory, train poultry producers, traders and other stakeholders on disease recognition, bio-security and best practices and facilitate cross boarder consultations.

He said the agreement, which is a technical cooperation grant from FAO is to control the HPAI disease in the affected regions and to mitigate the risk of its spread to free areas of the country and other countries in West Africa sub-region.

He said it would further contribute towards safeguarding of good security and food safety, strengthening resilience and protection of public health in the country.

Dr Abebe said this was a demonstration of FAO’s continued commitment and resolve to collaborate and coordinate efforts to stamp out the spread of the HPAI and its subsequent elimination from Ghana.

He said FAO and government have been collaborating in support of efforts directed at outbreak investigations, and case tracing surveillance and collection of samples.

“Some of the measures employed to control the outbreak included depopulation of infected birds and decontamination and provision of basic training in disease recognition,” he added.

Dr Gabriel said the technical cooperation project was developed in response to a request made by the country to support efforts of government towards controlling the HPAI.

Dr Hannah Louisa Bisiw, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of Livestock, said following the outbreak of the disease, government gave a directive for the restriction of movement of live birds.

She said there was 36 outbreaks of the disease across the country and called on poultry farmer to activate bio-security system on their farms.

Dr Bisiw said government had released GH₵11 million for compensations and also procured other items to curb the disease.

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