The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations with financial support from the United States government has presented veterinary laboratory equipment, reagents and consumables to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The equipment, which are for the Veterinary Services Department were to enhance the diagnostic capacity of the National Veterinary Laboratory System in the country for early detection and timely reporting of animal disease of health threat.
Dr Abebe Haile Gabriel, the FAO Regional Programme Leader for Africa and Representative to Ghana, presenting the equipment, commended the USAID for its invaluable financial support under the Global Health Security Agenda programme for procurement of the equipment.
He said the purpose of the presentation was to build the capacity of the Veterinary Laboratories to detect and report, especially high zoonotic diseases such as rabies, anthrax, bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis and avian influenza.
He said the FAO has three packages of veterinary laboratory equipment, reagents and accessories for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
“The first package was handed over to the Ministry in September, 2017, which consisted of reagents, consumables and 1,000 pieces of pipette with the second package presenting now. The third package soon to be delivered would be the largest,” he added.
Dr Abebe said apart from the equipment presented now, FAO had provided list of reagents, primers and probes for molecular identification proficiency test for rabies, avian influenza among others in December 2017.
He said, to further enhance the diagnostic capacity of the Veterinary Laboratory System, the FAO organised a training under the Biosecurity and Biosafety Action Package of the Global Health Security Agenda on best practices for safe, secure and responsible conduct in the laboratories.
The FAO Regional Programme Leader for Africa said two staff of the Accra Veterinary Laboratory would be trained in advanced diagnostic of avian influenza and rabies in FAO/ the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratory in Padova, Italy in the second quarter of the year.
Among other activities planned to build the capacity of the veterinary laboratories in the country included; conduct workshop to train and upgrade the skills of laboratory staff on new techniques of disease diagnosis and implementation of quality assurance and regional training on quality assessment.
Dr Nurah Gyiele, a Minister of State in charge of Livestock, who received the equipment commended FAO for the good work they were doing to promote the country’s agriculture sector and said the equipment would greatly benefit the farmers, since they were the first point of contact when diseases break.
He appealed for more equipment to better diagnose diseases to improve on the sector.