The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, welcomes the additional contribution of 2.2 million dollars from the Defence Threat Reduction Agency, DTRA/USA, to strengthen veterinary services in targeted provinces in Iraq and build capacity in disease recognition, field and laboratory diagnostics, epidemiology, data collection and analysis, reporting and early warning systems for high‐threat animal diseases.
Dr. Salah ElHajjHassan, FAO Representative in Iraq, expressed FAO's commitment to strengthen the capacity of veterinary services to detect, diagnose, and report highly pathogenic animal diseases. He said, “As the whole world is dealing globally with the COVID-19 pandemic, a focus on community resilience through disease control is especially important. This project will strengthen the technical and institutional capacity of Iraqi veterinary services for effective surveillance and control of zoonotic and transboundary diseases to protect livestock from losses and reduce severe threats to human health and safety.” He also stressed the importance of partnership and mutual cooperation with national stakeholders and other entities working in the same field.
Despite the efforts made by the Government of Iraq, the monitoring and control programs are restricted and with insufficient resources due to low oil prices and the Corona Virus pandemic, which affected animal health services in border areas and increased the risk of spreading highly contagious animal diseases within the region.
The health system in Iraq is already struggling to cope with COVID-19. An enhanced early warning system combined with new strategies and policies, and provision of animal health services, will ensure that livestock, an essential livelihood source for Iraqis, remain healthy and free from zoonotic disease outbreaks. FAO will support veterinary services by improving communications between regional and central Iraqi authorities, as well as with the herding communities, in order to help mitigate the threat of highly‐pathogenic animal diseases within the region.
FAO is grateful to the United States of America, Defence Threat Reduction Agency, for this generous contribution that aims to expand the scope of the ongoing project, “Improving Delivery of Animal Health Services and Disease Surveillance in Iraq,” which brings the total amount contributed by DTRA to over 3.5 million dollars.
Lubna AlTarabishi Lubna.AlTarabishi@fao.org +964 7740804002