FAO in Tanzania

FAO supports Tanzania with USD 208,607 worth equipment for controlling zoonotic diseases

GHSA Programme Team leader, Folorunso Fasina, speaking during the handover ceremony

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has donated worth Tshs. 481,029,452 (USD 208,607) to the Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Authority (TVLA) for further improving the country's prevention, detection & response capacity & enhancing protection against zoonotic disease threat.

The donation was part of the continued support that FAO has been offering Tanzania in the surveillance and control of zoonotic diseases in the country through the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) that is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  

Speaking before he received the equipment on behalf of the Government over the weekend, the Deputy Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Abdallah Ulega, said that the Government placed utmost importance on the livestock sector because of its contribution to the economy.

“The livestock Sector is an important pillar to our economy. Many households depend on livestock for food and incomes. Livestock also provides labour among other benefits,” he said.

Ulega said that this is why the Government has placed emphasis on the sector to ensure that livestock keeping is improved in the country in order to produce quality products that meet national and international standards to lift up the country’s economy.

According to him, in its efforts to realize that the Government has taken many measures including the passing of laws and regulation for the surveillance and control of diseases that negatively impact on the livestock sector.

He appreciated the support offered by FAO and other partners in improving the sector most specifically on the surveillance and control of zoonotic diseases in the country. “On behalf of the Government I would like to appreciate the support by all partners to ensure that the livestock sector is improved. Specifically we thank FAO for being with us all through to ensure that this objective is realized.”

Contribution to FAO's Strategic Objectives

On his side, the FAO’s Team Leader of the GHSA Programme, Folorunso Fasina, said that the donation was part of FAO’s strategic objectives.

He was speaking on behalf of the FAO’s Representative to the United Republic of Tanzania, Fred Kafeero.

“FAO is guided by five strategic objectives that include the need to increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises. FAO in collaboration with ministries responsible for livestock development is implementing the GHSA programme to mitigate future health threats and to accelerate compliance with the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations of 2005,” he said adding:

“This is to advance GHSA's mandate of building capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases, with the aim of rapid containment of threats at their source. In today’s interconnected world, infectious diseases can spread rapidly within and between countries, as in this current COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to Folorunso, the handed over equipment and consumables will be used in the diagnostic of domestic, livestock and wildlife pathogens and other national priority zoonotic diseases in the livestock populations and food chain in the country.

They will also contribute to training manpower for the Tanzania health systems and capacitate the new laboratories that are being established, he added.

FAO-Tanzania Collaboration Achievements under GHSA programme

The GHSA Proramme Team Leader seized the opportunity to appreciate the collaboration offered by the Tanzania Government that has enabled many achievements recorded through the implementation of the programme. They include the installation of Laboratory Management Systems (SILAB-LIMS) to TVLA labs in the Mainland and Zanzibar, development of several training manuals, protocols and standards on diagnostics, reducing infectious disease threats, samples collection and transportation using One  Health approach.

Also conducting of trainings to meet gaps for government laboratory and surveillance staff, provision of support to TVLA staff to attend regional and international workshops and  trainings aimed at standardization, and periodic assessments of selected national laboratories have been conducted using the two assessment tools, among others.  

Furthermore, Folorunso added that FAO Tanzania will continue to support the Government of United Republic of Tanzania in surveillance of country priority zoonotic diseases, upgrading TVLA laboratories to attain accreditation including procurement of essential equipment and reagents, quality management audit, training on biosafety and biosecurity. FAO will continue supporting and capacitating the TVLA laboratories in terms of technical support/capacity building and equipment and facilitating Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) initiatives, he pointed out.