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Livestock Workshop Builds Regional Capacity to Guard against Major Animal Diseases

In June, USDA, USAID, and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) hosted a joint workshop in Banjul, Gambia, for five West African nations on the role of livestock in Feed the Future’s activities in the region. Countries that joined the workshop included Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Gambia. Participants included a variety of veterinary laboratory technicians and veterinary epidemiologists from these nations.

The livestock workshop aimed to develop knowledge and skills that will strengthen the capacity of local professionals throughout the region to improve the surveillance, early detection, prevention, and control of major Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs). TADs are epidemic diseases that are highly contagious or transmissible and have the potential to spread rapidly across national borders. They cause high morbidity and mortality rates in susceptible animal populations and can therefore pose serious threats to the livelihoods of livestock farmers, buyers, and others along the livestock value chain.

The workshop addressed priority diseases that adversely affect food security and limit production throughout the region, including Foot and Mouth Disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Participants visited Banjul’s Central Veterinary Laboratory and participated in demonstrations held at the International Trypanotolerance Center, a livestock-based international agricultural research institute dedicated to serving West Africa. Participants strengthened their veterinary diagnostic skills and were able to network with counterparts from other countries in the region. 

This workshop was one in a series of sanitary capacity building workshops, which are designed to provide a foundation for animal disease control in the region. Over the long term, Feed the Future’s work to reduce sanitary and phyto-sanitary barriers and increase trade will contribute to inclusive agriculture sector growth and improved nutritional status, especially of women and children.

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