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US agency’s $617,744 supports Lao wildlife disease surveillance

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Defence Threat Reduction Agency of the United States of America has provided more than 5.4 billion kip (US$617,744) to roll out the Development of the National Wildlife Disease Surveillance Network Project in Laos.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Vientiane on Friday between the Deputy Head of the Livestock and Fisheries Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Sithong Phipukkhavong, and Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society to Laos, Dr Santi Saypanya.

Under the project, which runs until December 2022, the Wildlife Conservation Society will work with the Defence Threat Reduction Agency to build capacity within government agencies and institutions to develop an effective national-scale wildlife health surveillance network in Laos, in accordance with the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR2005) and World Organisation for Animal Health Guidelines.

The increased national capacity for wildlife disease surveillance and response achieved through this initiative will support the government in reaching their strategic objectives to combat the threat of emerging infectious diseases to public health, biodiversity, and regional development and stability.

This project is led by the Lao National Animal Health Laboratory in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society, and in collaboration with other government departments, Institut Pasteur du Laos, Lao Oxford Mahosot Wellcome Trust Research Unit, wildlife rescue centres, and national protected areas.

The focus is to increase capacity within the government to conduct wildlife surveillance on a national scale.

This work will look for pathogens that are of importance to the health of animals and people in Laos, in line with priorities defined by the government.

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