FAO emergency assistance to control bird flu launched

Hannah Bisiw
Dr Hannah Bisiw – Deputy Agric Minister

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture have launched a technical cooperation project dubbed “Emergency assistance to control bird flu outbreaks and mitigate risks for virus spread” in Accra.

The project, which was signed by the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Hanna Bisiw in December 2015 with FAO providing an amount of $413,000.00, is expected to end in August 2016.

Dr Abebe Haile Gabriel, Deputy Regional Representative for Africa and FAO Representative to Ghana, said the project is a rapid response from FAO to a sudden-onset of the disease crisis linked to the resurgence of the disease since May 2015.

He said bird flu is threatening poultry farmers, jeopardizing commercial poultry production and seriously impeding regional and international trade.

The assistance will address the most urgent needs for scaling-up field and laboratory operations thereby increasing the efficiency of on-going interventions to halt the spread of the disease.

Dr Gabriel said the assistance is thus expected to contribute to safeguard livelihoods and the food and nutrition security of the population and public health.

He said the short-term emergency assistance will be complemented by technical support to improve laboratory diagnostic capacities, review contingency plans for improved preparedness and response capabilities and refine communication strategies for disease prevention and control.

Dr Gabriel said although there has not been any confirmed case of the disease since January 12, 2016, Ghana is still considered to be at risk.

Recent confirmed cases in Cote d’Ivoire and the continuous daily reported cases of bird flu in Nigeria are very alarming and there is the need to strengthen the country’s capacity to control and prevent further spread of the disease.

Dr Eugene Yelfaanibe, Project Coordinator, said the project is three months behind time and the implementation plan must be reviewed by all stakeholders to enhance partnership and ownership of the project.

He said activities lined up for the project include: improvement of biosecurity at live bird markets, improvement of biosecurity among producers, improvement of outbreak investigation and reporting, awareness raising, sub regional cross-border consultation, emergency preparedness plan refinement and validation and project closure, final workshop and report.

Source: GNA

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