The United States Agency for International Development, USAID and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO says that they are working together to keep the world safe from infectious disease threats.
According to the statement released by both global agencies, the partnership has succeeded in training over 4,700 veterinary health professionals in 25 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
It also disclosed that the FAO-provided technical trainings in disease surveillance and forecasting, laboratory operations, biosafety and biosecurity, prevention and control methods and outbreak response strategies.
The FAO Chief Veterinary Officer, Juan Lubroth, said that 75 percent of new infectious diseases that had emerged in recent decades originated in animals before jumping to humans.
“This is why improving adequately discovering and tackling animal disease threats at source represents a strategic high-ground in pre-empting future pandemics, a proactive approach is absolutely critical, and for that, the world needs well-trained, up-to-speed professionals — biologists, ecologists, microbiologists, modellers, physicians and veterinarians — which is why the United States’ consistent support for building up that kind of capacity has been invaluable,” Lubroth said.
According to the Director of USAID’s Global Health Security and Development Unit, Dennis Carroll, it was not just a global health, but also a food security, food safety, and economic growth issue.
“Over the course of this relationship we’ve learned that there are many mutually beneficial areas of interest between the food and agricultural community and the human health community,” said USAID’s Dennis Carroll.
Carroll added that “A partnership with FAO not only enables us to protect human populations from future viral threats, but also to protect animal populations from viruses that could decimate food supplies. It’s not just a global health, infectious disease issue, but also a food security, food safety, and economic growth issue,” he explained.
Their two key programmes – Global Health Security Agenda and Emerging Pandemic Threats – are building animal health capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease threats in over 30 countries.