Ghana and UK sign MoU to combat infectious diseases and strengthen animal health systems

The government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Kingdom (UK) to combat infectious diseases and strengthen animal health systems.

The Agreement formalises the UK’s support for tackling the spill-over of pathogens from animals to people—the main cause of emerging infectious diseases—as part of the Government’s Animal Health System Strengthening (AHSS) project.

The AHSS is a £5 million multi-year (2022-2025) technical partnership project, currently operating in Ghana, Zambia, and The Gambia. The project commenced in Ghana in March 2023.

The agreement was signed when a UK delegation led by Madam Harriet Thompson, British High Commissioner to Ghana, and Mr. Andrew Mitchel, UK’s Minister of State for Development and Africa, visited Dr Bryan Acheampong, the Minister of Agriculture, at his office in Accra on Wednesday.

Mr. Mitchel signed for the UK government, while Mr. Acheampong signed on behalf of the government of Ghana.

According to the project brief shared with the Ghana News Agency, the AHSS Project aims to protect public health by tackling disease threats at the source while also increasing livestock productivity and improving livelihoods, particularly for the rural poor and women.

It also seeks to leverage further investment by Ghana in animal health systems.

Ten months into the project’s implementation in Ghana, 467 veterinary professionals had enhanced their capacity to detect, prevent, and respond to known and developing animal diseases such as salmonella, rabies, and fish diseases.

Over 228 communities have also benefited from the project interventions to date.

At the signing event, Mr. Mitchel said the initiative was an outstanding instance of the UK and Ghana’s long-standing development and scientific collaboration.

“Through this project, we will integrate animal health systems into Ghana’s health security framework.

“This will ensure Ghana, as well as the region, can better prepare for, detect, and respond to known and emerging diseases,” he said.

Dr. Acheampong said the UK government’s support in the affairs of Ghana across sectors was commendable.

He assured that all actors in the agriculture sector would collaborate and ensure that the project was successful in enhancing animal health systems and improving livelihoods.

“This is a clear example where the belief in one health is being championed by the British Government. The belief that when it affects one, it affects all is further entrenched in the signing of this agreement,” Dr. Acheampong said.

Source: GNA

Also read: Backyard Poultry Farming: 7 Tips for Small-Scale Chicken Production

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