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Visit of the Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security

FAO Cambodia hosts a visit of the Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security to O’Russey live bird market

On 7 November, the FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Disease (ECTAD)  team in Cambodia organized a visit under the Avian Influenza-Live Animal Marketing and Production (LAMP) program with Mr Blair Exell, Australian Ambassador for Regional Health Security including Mr Alexandre Huynh, FAO Representative in Cambodia, Ms Kristina Osbjer, ECTAD Team Leader, Mr Hak Makara, ECTAD National Technical Advisor-Animal Health and the government team to the live bird compartment of O’Russey market in Phnom Penh. O’Russey market is one of the avian influenza monitoring sites where national surveillance of the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production (GDAHP) has been implemented since 2010, under the support of the UN-FAO Cambodia. The market visit was followed by a meeting at the General Directorate between Mr Blair Exell, Mr Alexandre Huynh, H.E. Sen Sovann, Delegate of the Royal Government of Cambodia and Director General of GDAHP, ECTAD team, and GDAHP team. During the meeting the Australian Government’s Health Security Initiative for the Indo-Pacific was presented. The initiative aims to contribute to the prevention and containment of communicable disease outbreaks, to build resilient and sustainable human and animal health systems, and strengthen regional preparedness for existing and emerging health threats. H.E. Sen Sovann shared updates and insights on the national strategy for improved livestock production, in particular cattle management, the current animal disease situation in Cambodia and the involvement of GDAHP in the management and control of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), other zoonotic influenzas and transboundary animal diseases, multi-sectoral coordination as well as prevalent challenges.

Since 2004, FAO Cambodia has been supporting the prevention, detection and control of HPAI in Cambodia through various projects, including through the ongoing project “Emerging Pandemic Threats” funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Efforts have focused on training of community based animal health workers and staff of GDAHP of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) in epidemiology, outbreak investigation and response, and strengthening of the diagnostic capacities of the National Animal Health and Production Research Institute (NAHPRI) laboratory, also on other highly pathogenic emerging animal and zoonotic diseases. To strengthen the support, the LAMP program on evidence-based risk management along the livestock production and market chain, funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s ASEAN regional health program and USAID, will commence in November 2017. It will focus on biosafety and biosecurity improvements in the Takeo live bird markets and its poultry value chain.