Guyana ready for foot and mouth disease

Guyana has again conducted a successful simulation exercise testing the country’s readiness in the event of an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

After more than a decade, the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/ WHO), conducted the exercise from December 13 to December 17.

In a press release, the ministry said the health ministry in Brazil, the Guyana Police Force, Guyana Defence Force, Wildlife Division, Guyana Prison Service and other governmental and non-governmental organizations also participated in the exercise. The exercise was held in regions four and nine.

A desktop exercise was conducted at the GLDA’s Head Office at Mon Repos for the agency’s technical staff and other stakeholders located on the coast. A field simulation exercise was conducted in Region Nine and included the GLDA’s hinterland staff and other staff from the coastal regions. GLDA Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally made the address. “The objective of this field activity was to test the country’s ability to respond to an outbreak of FMD, a highly contagious animal disease,” the release said. It added that observers from PAHO/WHO, the Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture, Brazil (State of Roraima) said they were satisfied with the officers’ knowledge of the epidemiology of the disease and their ability to mount a control and eradication response should it be detected in Guyana.

Dr Dwight Walrond, FMD focal point and Guyana’s Delegate to the World Animal Health Organization, in his remarks, emphasized the timeliness of the exercise, since it is one of the prerequisites to Guyana maintaining its FMD free status. The GLDA staff and personnel who provided guidance during the exercise were also recognized for their excellent work.

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