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FAO, USAID Support the Government of Liberia Develop a National Animal Disease Surveillance and Response System

11/01/2019

Monrovia- Technical experts representing the animal and human health sectors have developed for the first time an Animal Disease Surveillance and Response System in Liberia that will provide tangible and achievable solutions towards preventing, detecting and responding to emerging and re-emerging zoonotic and non-zoonotic economically important diseases of the country.

The exercise was a collaborative effort of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through GHSA EPT-2 global program aimed at enhancing the animal health capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).

The plan according to FAO, will enable to determine the burden and establish hierarchy of priority diseases (Zonootic and non-Zoonotic) and geographic distribution; establish multi-sector veterinary surveillance system to improve information flow across all levels (community, district, county and national) of animal health network.

It will improve and pave a way for collaboration and information sharing among stakeholders on zoonotic diseases, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and other animal diseases as well as contribute to the reduction of mortality, morbidity and economic losses to human and animal as the result of animal diseases through systematic data and prompt response to animal and public health event.

“This is remarkable for the Government of Liberia, there have been a lot of improvements in the human and animal health sectors,” Joseph Anderson, Chief Veterinary Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture.

“We have reached a major landmark and made another history for the country with the goal of achieving a good result in the sector.” He pleaded on partners to provide more support to empower the Ministry respond to animal disease threat that effects food security in the country. 

Mr. Anderson who spoke on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture Dr. Mogana S. Flomo said with the support from partners, “we are going to reach our goal”.

In further remarks, Dr. Abebe Wolde, ECTAD Country Team Leader described the document as a “major accomplishment” for the Government of Liberia.

 He asserted that FAO with its technical expertise, will continue to support the Ministry of Agriculture in strengthening the animal health capacity needed to conduct routine animal health services as well as contribute to detecting emerging and re-emerging zoonotic disease threats.

He added without the dedication and commitment of policy makers, there would have been a national plan for animal disease surveillance for the MoA.

Dr. Wolde mentioned that enhancing the capacity of the MoA will have a positive impact on the livelihood of farmers, at the same time securing the public from zoonotic disease.

According to Dr. Charles Oliver, Head of Infectious Disease at USAID, 75% of global health threat are coming from animal to human.

He pledged the US government continued commitment in supporting the Government of Liberia to combat public health threat.

For his part, Thomas Nagbe, Director of Infectious Disease & Epidemiology at the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), extolled FAO and USAID for the level of enthusiasm and quality of support provided over the years. He said the NPHIL remains supportive of the efforts to strengthen animal and human health sectors.