March 16, 2016
The Food and Agriculture Organizationof the United Nations (FAO) held today its first inception workshop on "Emergency assistance for the control of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in poultry and other domestic birds in Libya."
The workshop, which was held in Tunisia, provided technical assistance for the implementation of the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) project and will be followed by two days' training for veterinaries from Libya. The opening ceremony was attended by Prof. Malek Zrelli, Director General of Veterinary Services, Tunisia, Dr. Rachid Bouguedour, Representative of OIE in North Africa & Dr. Farag Bakkar, Head of International Cooperation Office, National Centre for Animal Health, Libya
Mr. Mohammed Al-Ansi, Operations & Liaison Officer, OiC, FAO Libya delivered the opening speech on behalf of Mr. Lamourdia Thombiano, sub-regional coordinator for FAO in North Africa in Tunisia, said in his inaugural speech: "The first outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was reported in the Libya in December 2014. The spread of HPAI since its first detection in Libya has been progressive. During 2014-2015, HPAI had negative impact on the farmers and the country's economy and caused death of at least four people since December 2014. A further spread of HPAI in Libya would be an increased risk to public health and livestock sector not only in the country but also in the region."
He added :" In 2015, more than 10 suspected outbreaks were reported monthly and high mortality rate is observed in some farms in the Eastern Part of Libya. In Tobruk area more than 109 suspected outbreaks were reported with a death of more than 140 000 birds."
"In addition to human cases, the disease has caused significant economic losses to farmers estimated at more than USD 10 million. Due to the lack of qualified human resources and lack of appropriate equipment, these outbreaks were not deeply investigated. The present project aims to assist the Libyan Veterinary Services to stop the spread of HPAI "H5N1" and reduce its negative impact on human health and food security through reinforcement of management capacities of the current health crisis", Thombiano concluded.
The inception workshop aims to build common understanding on the background, concept, objectives, expected outputs and implementation strategies of the project; the participants came from Libya (Tripoli and Al-Baida) despite of logistical challenges.
The workshop was attended by experts from the FAO sub-regional office in Tunisia and experts from FAO HQ in Rome.The workshop offered an overview on the situation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in the world and Libya, and the participants were divided in three working groups to achieve three outputs: output 1, HPAI control Strategy and contingency plan are reviewed and improved; output 2, Capacities of the veterinary services are strengthened; output 3, HPAI situation is better known and the appropriate control strategy is implemented. The workshop concluded its activities by validation of the project work plan.