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SPC helps boost animal disease preparedness and surveillance in the Solomon Islands
The Pacific Community (SPC) is working with the Solomon Islands Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) to strengthen and build the capacity of Livestock Officers to better manage and address emerging animal disease threats.
Surveillance and training were part of the Safe Agriculture Facilitation through Economic Integration in the Pacific (SAFE Pacific) project, funded by the European Union and implemented by SPC in 15 countries in the region.
“Protecting livestock is important to the economic livelihoods of our Pacific community. Vulnerable communities depend on livestock, not only as a source of income but as a cultural commodity that is important for traditional events,” said SPC Animal Health and Production Adviser Dr. Sripad Sosale.
“As new and existing animal disease threats emerge around the world and the region, it’s incredibly important to strengthen surveillance and monitoring in our region and ensure the early detection of these diseases,” he said.
The SPC team collaborated with Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) to carry out surveillance exercises in the Province of Guadalcanal. This capacity-building effort focused on supporting livestock officers in the field to improve data and sample collection and routine animal health surveillance and monitoring.
“We know, and we have heard of a lot of animal diseases that are emerging which are very dangerous for animals and farms, and the Solomon Islands is no exception,” said MAL Department of livestock and veterinary services Acting Director Rickson Wate.
Mr. Wate said continuous capacity-building and training were essential for Livestock Officers to help detect animal diseases. The first step was ensuring correct sample collection for accurate diagnostics; this will help the Solomon Islands improve efficiency in mitigating the risk of transboundary disease incursions.
“These types of training and capacity-building and accessing expertise would need substantial financial support and for this reason, we’re very grateful that SPC and DAFF are supporting this initiative,” he said.
The last animal health survey DAFF and MAL undertook in the Solomon Islands was in 2016.
“The collaborative animal health survey undertaken by SPC and DAFF officers from the Pacific Engagement Programme for Animal Health (PEPAH) will play a vital role in establishing a new baseline for livestock diseases in the Solomon Islands and the region more broadly,” said Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp.
“The disease survey provided training to MAL staff to strengthen their disease surveillance skills. DAFF is pleased to partner with SPC and MAL to undertake livestock disease surveillance and are grateful for the support provided by MAL officers as part of our collaborative survey.”
The SPC team continued field visits and capacity building in Auki, Malaita Province, while DAFF remained focused on the Guadalcanal area.
“We’re keen on strengthening these collaborative partnerships to draw from the team’s expertise, share knowledge and commit to keeping the Pacific free from dangerous animal diseases,” said Dr. Sosale.
As part of these efforts, the SPC team, through the SAFE Pacific project, will be carrying out similar training and capacity-building in more Pacific Island countries over the next two years.
Maryann Lockington, Communications Officer SAFE Pacific, Pacific Community (SPC), Land Resources Division | [email protected] or (679) 3370733
Dr. Sripad Sosale, Animal Health and Production Adviser, Pacific Community (SPC), Land Resources Division | [email protected]
Elenoa Salele, Animal Health and Production Officer, Pacific Community (SPC), Land Resources Division | [email protected]
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The Pacific Community has been supporting sustainable development in the Pacific, through science, knowledge and innovation since 1947. It is the principal intergovernmental organisation in the region, owned and governed by its 27 member countries and territories. www.spc.int
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