Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Avian Influenza Poses Threat to Lives and Livelihoods of………

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA(MB)- Avian Influenza poses a real threat to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people around the world, to the economy and to human health, words of Gambian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Mr. Kalifa Kambi presiding over the official opening of five days Sub- regional training of trainers for the Joint Rapid Response Teams in Banjul from 7 to 11 June 2010.

The training of trainers workshop comprises of experts from Agriculture, Health and Wildlife sectors from english speaking West African Countries namely, nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and The Gambia. The training is implemented within the framework of the Support Program to Integrated National Action Plans for Avian and Human Influenza (SPINAP-AHI).The training is co-funded by European Commission (EC) and African Union Interafrican Bureau of Animal Resources (AU-IBAR).

According to the Gambian minister, avian influenza has not been reported in The Gambia for many decades because of the country’s active surveillance for the disease. He disclosed that the disease has already been reported in eleven African countries , noting that most of the countries are in the West African regions.

The Gambia, he said has commits itself to harmonized, coordinate, multidisciplinary and partnership building approaches to come over avian influenza in the country. Minister Kambi revealed that AU-IBAR has been instrumental in the eradication of Rinderpest and Contagious Bovine Pleuro Pneumonia (CBPP) in The Gambia and other African countries, while acknowledging the records of AU-IBARD for their support.

According to Gambian minister, since the first outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in 2006, The Gambia has greatly stepped up activities geared towards building and strengthening national capacities to deal with the disease.

He explained hat the implementation of SPINAR-AHI programme in the country has significantly contributed to raising the level of awareness of the Gambian population about avian influenza adding that it has also contributed to building capacity in disease surveillance and laboratory diagnosis as well as increase biosecurity at poultry farms. Mr. Kambia called on other African countries to emulate The Gambia.

He told participants that The Gambia has been working closely with AU-IBARD through the SPINAR-AHI and promise that the country would continue working with the AU-IBAR and other relevant partners.

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