Response to animal diseases outbreaks

14Aug 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Response to animal diseases outbreaks

OFFICERS from the animal, public and environmental health services across Tanzania are attending a multidisciplinary meeting in Zanzibar aimed to improve the country’s management of animal health emergencies by strengthening the preparedness and response capacities of stakeholders.

The training is being facilitated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (Mainland) and Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries (Zanzibar) through the FAO Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) programme funded by the Defence Threat Reduction (DTRA).

Participants are expected to be oriented on the FAO’s Good Emergency Management Practice (GEMP) approach to strengthen their capacity in handling animal health systems for efficient and effective preparedness and responses to animal disease emergencies including wildlife.

Speaking at the official opening of the training in Zanzibar yesterday, the Zanzibar Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr. Makame Ali Ussi, appreciated the training calling it an important milestone in the management and control of animal disease emergencies in both the Mainland and Zanzibar.

“Our country is rich in different types of animals and almost every household has this or that type of an animal. The livestock sector is very key in contributing to food security, nutrition, employment and also supports agriculture by providing labour and manure for sustainable agriculture,” he said.   

According to him, animal diseases are among the factors that hinder development of the livestock sector in the country.

“These diseases have had a big toll in animals, quantity and quality of their products particularly meat and milk failuring to meet the agreed standards for international trade,” he pointed out adding: “It is my hope that the training will bring about transformation in addressing animal disease outbreaks and revolutionize our agriculture sector.”

In his remarks earlier  , the FAO Representative to Tanzania, Fred Kafeero, noted that it was urgently needed for countries including the United Republic of Tanzania, to ensure that high impact animal diseases are effectively and timeously managed in order to improve production and meet the global increase in demand of animal protein.

“This is quite important since the demand for protein of animal sources in developing countries is predicted to double by 2050 as a result of growth in human population, and the increasing affluence of the emerging economies,” he disclosed.

Mr. Kafeero expressed FAO’s commitment towards building the country’s resilience to animal and public health threats and emergencies, improving food security and supporting sustainable agriculture, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

According to him, FAO through support from development partners including USAID and DTRA in collaboration with the ministries responsible for livestock of Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar and other key Government Departments, has been providing strategic interventions to address emergencies in the food chain, agriculture, environment, human capacity development and laboratory capacitation particularly to target zoonotic and other high impact animal diseases.

“Occurrence of trans-boundary animal diseases is amongst the factors that adversely affect livestock production and productivity impacting negatively to the contribution of the sector to food safety and security and poverty reduction,” he said.

For control of such diseases, an enhanced system for good emergencies management practices (GEMPs) backed up with preparedness and response plan harmonized at Regional and International levels is required, Mr. Kafeero added.

FAO’s acting ECTAD team leader, Dr. Niwael Mtui Malamsha, said that the training was part of the bigger project for strengthening epidemio-surveillance capabilities and underlying regulatory frameworks in Eastern Africa region. “The aim is to strengthenthe policy frameworks supporting disease surveillance and to enhance national epidemiological and field veterinary preparedness and surveillance capabilities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda,” she said.

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