On March 18, 2021, USAID, through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), officially donated laboratory equipment consisting of items such as diagnostic kits, protective gear, disinfectants, and spraying devices to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to help in the fight against avian influenza.
The equipment, valued at 25 million CFA (approximately $45,000 USD), was acquired through the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), funded by USAID. It will be used to strengthen the capacities of the Central Livestock Laboratory (LABOCEL) to manage this health crisis.
USAID’s Health Office Director, Christina Chappell, emphasized, “One of USAID’s objectives, through this partnership with FAO, is to strengthen national animal health establishments and systems through targeted training of veterinary personnel and the improvement of their technical platforms.”
In addition, outbreak investigation and management missions will be carried out in the coming days to support the Directorate General of Veterinary Services in managing the crisis. The “Emergency Program for the Prevention and Control of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Niger” project will assist these missions with implementation from the GHSA in Niger. These programs reinforce control and surveillance of by providing equipment and training for the veterinary and laboratory services, in line with the One Health’s concept.
USAID is providing this rapid response because in February 2021, Niger recorded its first outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a family farm in Niamey; more outbreaks followed in March on factory farms. These outbreaks have caused the loss of nearly 60,000 chickens and 2,000 guinea fowl as of March 13, 2021.