US Embassy donates lab equipment to animal health lab

The Humanitarian Aid Programme (HAP) of the US Embassy has donated five microscopes valued US$5000 to the Animal Health Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture to assist their effort at ensuring food and animal safety.

A release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said that Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy and Chief Executive Officer, Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) Dr Dindiyal Permaul on Wednesday received the equipment from Director, HAP, Melanie Collins and Project Manager, Sharon Houston. Permaul explained that during an earlier programme in collaboration with the embassy, which looked at the contribution of veterinary medicine to poverty alleviation, in a sample of Region 3 livestock farmers, it was recognised that the absence of microscopes in certain key and critical areas particularly under field conditions mitigated again farmers doing well in their production techniques.

He explained that GLDA staff had benefited from a few credit hours of lectures and practical sessions on parasitology from experts arranged by the HAP.

Dr Ramsammy was quoted as saying, “We are endeavouring to ensure that we build a comprehensive animal health laboratory so that not only can we provide safe and quality food for our people, but also ensure that we meet the sanitary and phytosanitary standard that allow us to export.

“Our vision, 2020, is to see Guyana as a meat products, dairy products exporting country. That ambition can only be realised if we have a good quality animal health laboratory and so this support that we been getting and continue to get from USAID is critical.”  The Minister of Agriculture said that the 2020 ambition has seen much emphasis being placed on training of animal health personnel including veterinarians and lab technicians, in all labs across Guyana.

He said that the ministry will be putting in place a database on the Veterinary Practitioner’s Act and a Veterinary Council to register all veterinarians and veterinary technicians in the country.

GINA said that the animal health lab had been established with the assistance of USAID and other partners in 2006 to be a sample collection facility that would send the specimen out for testing.  The lab since then has evolved from a sample collection facility to one that conducts testing.

Minister Ramsammy said that tests for foot and mouth disease will be conducted at the lab. The lab is building capacity for other tests that are important in terms of food and animal safety and is now looking to conduct testing for brucellosis and bovine diseases among others, the release added.

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