A United States envoy has handed out boxes of protective gear and equipment to the ministry of livestock and animal industries for use by the national veterinary laboratory, which is still dealing with the worst bird flu outbreak in Cameroon in nearly a decade.
US deputy chief of missions Mathew D. Smith also announced that America will train vet engineers and scientists in a drive to help Cameroon strengthen its readiness and response capabilities against health threats.
An outbreak of bird flu killed thousands of fowls in Yaounde and neighboring localities in May, prompting the slaughter of thousands more and a ban on chicken sales that nearly crippled an industry that provides subsistence to thousands of small farmers and livestock dealers.
Livestock officials say the outbreak is now under control.
“Today, Cameroon faces challenges in countering health threats, such as the most recent Avian Flu outbreak, which impedes on the wellbeing of both humans and animals,” Smith said at the ceremony to hand over US support to the Minister of Livestock and Animal Industries, Taiga, here on Thursday.
“These threats can have devastating effects on communities. Not only because of the illness itself, but, because of the devastating economic impact that result. So, the donation today is not only about saving lives, but, about saving families livelihood.”
Tried on: Bio-security gear will cut spread of outbreaks and protect population
US deputy chief of missions Mathew Smith hands out sample gear to Livestock Minister Taiga
Both equipment and training cost CFA 200 million, US officials said
Both the equipment and training cost CFA200 million and is paid for by the US Department of Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). They include “live saving” protective materials such as overalls, surgical masks, gloves, boots, disinfection solutions and planed training for vets on standard safety procedures.
“Our mutual goal is to support the Government of Cameroon and as we hand over this life saving personal protective equipment to [the national veterinary laboratory], we are assured that we are one step closer to protecting the citizens of Cameroon,” said Smith.
Along with security, support for Cameroon’s health sector accounts for the bulk of US bilateral aid to Cameroon.
“Just like fighting insecurity, in order to take pre-emptive steps to fight outbreaks, world-wide actors must come together in a global effort, and the American people are committed to strengthening the Public Health infrastructure in Cameroon,” the US embassy in Yaounde said in a statement.