Animal Health and Production

Livestock plays an important role in the social, cultural and economic environment of Pacific Island communities. Indeed many, of the important social and cultural events in island life cannot be properly carried out without the slaughter and presentation of livestock in sufficient numbers. The Animal Health and Production thematic team works together in the Pacific region to develop prosperous, efficient and sustainable animal health and production systems, producing healthy animals and safe products for food security and income generation.

Building up animal disease diagnostic capacity in Palau
Friday, 10 September 2010 14:17

The Koror State Animal Shelter and Veterinary Clinic opened in 2005 and Koror State hired Palau’s first full-time veterinarian in 2006.  The Palau Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has worked closely with the Koror State Government since 200, and supports the clinic by supplying all medicine and materials and assisting in other areas of the program.  PAWS is a non-profit corporation founded in 2000 to promote the health and well-being of animals in Palau. The State Government and PAWS have worked in close collaboration with the Bureau of Agriculture to support the Republic of Palau’s commitment to preventing avian and swine flu in the country.

The opportunity to build veterinary capacity to perform in-country ELISA diagnosis arose during the Pacific Regional Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Project (PRIPPP), which was implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).  Discussions on establishing diagnostic capacity in Palau began in 2007 through the subregional animal health specialist for the north Pacific, Dr Judith Bourne, PAWS, and Koror State Government veterinarian, Dr Mihnea Muresanu. In 2008, the government provided support for the establishment of ELISA testing through the construction of a small diagnostic laboratory within the animal shelter compound.  It was completed by mid 2009, with laboratory bench tops and equipment being procured with funding from PRIPPP. By November of the same year, the clinic had tested the capacity of the newly established facility, conducting Hepa B-virus and malaria tests during the Macaque Monkey Sterilization Project.

Identification of animals positive for zoonotic diseases through in-country diagnosis has greatly contributed to the development of public health recommendations relating to pet macaque monkeys.  The Koror State Government has since proposed legislation banning macaque monkeys as pets to prevent the transmission of zoonotic diseases.

As a result of working with SPC, the Koror State Animal Shelter and Veterinary Clinic has also developed a better collaboration with other agencies involved in the control of zoonotic diseases, namely Palau’s Division of Public Health, Division of Environmental Health and Bureau of Agriculture.

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