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USAID, FAO Provide PPE to Department of Livestock and Fisheries

The United States through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided the Protective Equipment (PPE) and disinfectant materials to the Department of Livestock and Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

The handover ceremony was held at the Department of Livestock and Fisheries in Vientiane on Apr 25 between Director General of the Department of Livestock and Fisheries Vilayphone Vorraphim, USAID Country Representative to Laos Michael Ronning and FAO Representative to the Lao PDR Hayat Nasar.

The support will ensure the safety of veterinarians and animal health workers investigating animal diseases in the field and aid in preventing disease spread. The generous support was made possible by the U.S. Government through USAID under the Global Health Security Project, implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

At the handover ceremony, Ms Vilayphone Vorraphim expressed her gratitude to FAO and the U.S. Government through USAID on the PPE and disinfectant materials donated.

“Because the Lao PDR has long borders with all its five neighbors and as there is substantial cross-border trade of livestock and livestock products, there is a high risk of the introduction of common and new emerging animal transmissible diseases. With this donation from USAID, veterinarians and animal health workers will be ensured for their safety when investigating animal diseases in the field and in the laboratories,” she said.

“This is especially the case with zoonotic diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza, brucellosis, leptospirosis and rabies,” she added.

The supplies consist of full body suits, masks, gloves, goggles, shoe protectors and disinfectant that have a total combined value of over USD 50,000. The supplies will be delivered to all 148 districts in the Lao PDR to ensure each district is prepared for any unexpected outbreak of transboundary animal diseases or zoonotic diseases (transmissible to humans) which are common in the South-East Asia region.

At the ceremony, Mr. Michael Ronning highlighted the expanding U.S.-Lao Comprehensive Partnership. “USAID is committed to supporting the Lao PDR under the Partnership in the fight against zoonotic diseases and other health threats including COVID-19. We value the collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and FAO in this important work.”

Mr. Hayat Nasar stressed that livestock diseases have severely adverse impact not only for farmers but also on the food system, food security and nutrition, and income security, for the rural population, especially for the poor and the most vulnerable. Many people, especially in the rural population have been pushed back to hunger and poverty due to the loss of livestock caused by diseases such as African Swine Fever and Avian Influenza. Only through our partnership and collaboration, we could fight these transboundary diseases effectively, save livestock and human lives and gradually build back better.

He also emphasized that FAO stands committed in continuing its support to assist the Government to better deal with livestock diseases and thanks to the USAID contribution and partnership to support the Government of the Lao PDR in combating poverty and hardship.

Source: Lao News Agency