October 7, 2022
Kenya, FAO launch training for veterinary officers
The movement of livestock in search of pastures and water due to the ongoing drought in Kenya has seen an increase in transboundary diseases mainly in the country's ASAL counties.
To address this, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Kenya's Department of Veterinary Services have rolled out training to equip veterinary officers with skills to control some of the diseases.
FAO country team leader Fasina Folorunsa said enhancing the capacity of veterinary officers in epidemio-surveillance was key to managing the emerging zoonotic diseases.
Folorunsa said the FAO had trained and equipped 75 veterinary officers drawn from 17 counties on applied veterinary epidemiology.
"The training will strengthen the officer's skills in prevention and control of transboundary, zoonotic and emerging infectious diseases that are on the rise due to the drought," he said.
Folorunso said the UN organisation was working closely with the Kenyan government in addressing the drought situation.
"FAO has various programmes like cash transfer and delivery of livestock feed to affected parts of the country to prevent any livestock deaths," he said in Naivasha.
Dr. Harry Oyas, deputy director at the Directorate of Veterinary Services, said that emergence of disease outbreaks in animals posed a great threat to livestock productivity, food security and market access and trade. He added that a number of reported diseases are zoonotic which posed a major public health risk, adding that adequate and swift control and preventive measures are needed.
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," Oyas said.
He also noted that the ongoing drought situation in the country posed a major impact on animal immunity and any disease outbreak exposes great danger to animals. He called for more funding, increased awareness and deployment of adequate personnel to enable them to manage emerging animal diseases and imminent spillover to humans.
According to Willis Wago from Farmers Choice, the skills learned would enable him to address emerging diseases in pigs such as pneumonia outbreaks which posed a public health risk if not arrested on time.
- The Star