The Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] in partnership with the Directorate of Veterinary Services has rolled out a training programme to equip veterinary officers with skills to control animal specific diseases in the country.
FAO country team leader Fasina Folorunsa said that enhancing the capacity of veterinary officers in epidemio surveillance is key to managing present and emerging zoonotic diseases that risk posing a health threat in the country.
Folorunsa said currently they have trained and equipped 75 veterinary officers drawn from 17 counties on Applied Veterinary Epidemiology.
The training, he said, will strengthen the officer’s skills in early surveillance, early detection, rapid response, prevention and control of animal specific diseases including trans-boundary diseases, zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases.
Folorunsa said the trainees have been equipped with necessary skills, procedures and protocols that they need to apply in the field to achieve effective animal health surveillance.
Folorunsa said the trainees have been exposed to various studies including prevalence of enzootic pneumonia in pigs in identified slaughterhouses, Rift Valley Fever outbreaks, analysis of human – dog bites and tick control practices among other areas.
According to Dr. Harry Oyas, Deputy Director at Directorate of Veterinary Services, emergence of disease outbreaks in animals pose a great threat to livestock productivity, food security and market access and trade.
Dr. Oyas added that a number of reported diseases are zoonotic which pose a major public health risk adding that adequate and swift control and preventive measures are needed.
Dr. Oyas said the trainees will be deployed as frontline animal health workers to help with epidemiological surveillance, field and outbreak investigations, disease reporting and prevention and control.
“Effective surveillance of animal health events, data management and research provide for evidence based actions and policy development,” said Dr. Oyas.
Dr. Oyas noted that the ongoing drought situation in the country poses a major impact on animal health immunity and any disease outbreak exposes great danger to animals.
The director called on more funding, increased awareness and deployment of adequate personnel to relevant government agencies to enable them manage emerging animal diseases and imminent spillover to humans.
According to Willis Wago, trained veterinary at Farmers Choice, the skills learnt will enable him to address emerging diseases in pigs such as Pneumonia outbreaks which may pose a public health risk if not arrested on time.
By Erastus Gichohi