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27.09.2004 Health

Experts in Animal health begins meeting

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Accra, Sept. 27, GNA - Experts in animal health on Monday began five days of discussions at the first Pan-African Conference of Epizootics Regional and Laboratories Network meeting to find ways to strengthen capacity of national veterinary services and establish a sustainable national and regional surveillance systems.

The Pan African Programme for the Control of Epizootics (PACE), an European Union funded programme operating in 30 African Countries, aims to eradicate Rinderpest among the Continent's animal population. Mr Clement Eledi, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, called for cost effective continental surveillance network for major animal diseases.

He said to be able to do this effectively; there was the need for accurate, precise, reproductive and reliable diagnostic results at the National and Regional Reference Laboratories to make Africa free from the disease.

The World Organisation for Animal Health had certified 10 African countries, including Ghana as free from Rinderpest.

He said to achieve the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) standards for recognition of freedom from Rinderpest other countries yet to be certified needed to intensify their clinical and serological surveillance for the diseases in the next 24 months to demonstrate absence of infection.

The Deputy Minister said animal disease control programmes were very crucial for the development of livestock industries as well as improving the livestock genetic base and husbandry practices and feed resources.

Mr Eledi said poor border controls by most African countries had led to uncontrolled movement of livestock across borders with the attendant spread of diseases and thus, gradually thwarting efforts to improve livestock productivity.

He tasked the participants not to fail to put in measures that would control and eradicate other diseases such as African swine fever and Newcastle Disease, which were making efforts at poverty alleviation and food security difficult in most of the countries.

Koren Duchateau, Representative of the Head of EU Delegation in Ghana, pledged the EU's continuous support for the PACE programme as well as other Agriculture initiatives.

He said the EU would support agriculture, water and sanitation, environment and micro projects as a centre of Ghana and EU cooperation.

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