FAO to provide $413,000 support to Ghana to control incidence of bird flu

Ghana is to benefit from a $413,000 technical assistance from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations to control bird flu.

An agreement to this effect was signed between the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the FAO at a ceremony in Accra yesterday.

A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture in-charge of Livestock, Dr Louisa Hanna Bissiw, signed for the ministry while the FAO Country Representative to Ghana, Dr Haile Gabriel Abebe, signed for his organisation.

The technical support will focus on capacity building of field officers in modern disease outbreak surveillance and investigations.

Under the support, the veterinary services laboratory would also be equipped while stakeholders, such as poultry producers and traders, would be trained in the disease recognition, bio-security and best practices to facilitate cross border consultations.

Technical support
The intervention, dubbed, technical cooperation project, seeks to control the highly pathogenic avian influenza A (HPAI) disease in affected regions and prevent it from spreading to neighbouring countries in the sub-region.

Dr Bissiw said the government had so far paid compensation of GH¢1,067, 355 to 25 farmers whose farms were destroyed during the outbreak of the disease in May 2015.

She said an additional 10 farmers, whose farms were destroyed during the outbreak of the disease, were due for compensation soon.

The FAO Country Representative, who also doubles as the Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, Dr Abebe, said Ghana needed to undertake appropriate outbreak investigations, conduct an active surveillance and improve laboratory diagnostics.

He called for a coordinated communication among to various stakeholders on the prevention, spread and public health significance of the disease.

In May 2015, Ghana recorded an outbreak of the H5N1 (bird flu) disease in 17 districts in the Greater Accra, Volta, Ashanti, Western and Central regions.

In all, 35 farms were affected leading to the culling of 102,760 birds.

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