The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through its Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Disease (ECTAD) Program, recently completed a two-day stakeholders consultative workshop in Monrovia for the development and coordination of field epidemiology training programs for veterinarians (FETPV)
The workshop was held in collaboration with the Government of Liberia (GoL) and partners.
Participants discussed implementation approaches in establishing a veterinary epidemiology workforce that will meet the needs of the animal health sector, but also provides support to human health sector creating an interoperable surveillance systems in the country.
The workshop was attended by representatives from the ministries of Agriculture, Health, Education, National Public Health Institute, Forestry Development Authority, Central Agriculture Research Institute, donor partners and the private sector.
Unlike for the public health sector, there are limited numbers of epidemiologists working for animal health services to efficiently address the involved risks, and needs due to animal health specifics, and zoonotic disease events and emergencies.
FAO through the ECTAD Program, receives funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under its Global Health Security Agenda to address emerging and re-emerging high impact zoonoses.
FAO Country Representative Mariatou Njie, said the country team leader on ECTAD, Dr. Abebe Wossene Wolde said that Liberia has the potential to promote livestock development but it’s unfortunate that there is still a huge importation of frozen meat.
He said that the way to curtail such problem is to prioritize the veterinary epidemiology training program to meet the need of the animal health sector.
According to him such program has succeeded in Asia and other parts of the world and that Liberia can also be a good example.
“FAO has been mandated to contribute to the global workforce development of the animal health sector. This program will involve many countries in Africa as a pilot project, whereby training people from various health sector as front line veterinarians,” he explained.
USAID health team representative, Monica Dea, said that animal health program is a very important component of global health security agenda that is much needed in Liberia, especially.
She stated that the United States Government is committed to collaborating with the GOL in supporting the initiative in the animal health sector to prevent the diseases that come from animals in the environment.
The director for veterinarian services at the MOA, Joseph Anderson who spoke on behalf of the minister of agriculture, Dr. Mogona Flomo said that the government of Liberia highly appreciate the initiative efforts by the donors.
He expressed the hope that the objective of the workshop become achievable.