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.

Laboratory Diagnostic Capacity Building
Thursday, 21 January 2010 14:59
Along with inadequate infrastructure, other issues that hinder access to animal health reference laboratories for many Pacific Island countries included limited human resource capacities, undefined transport routes and inadequate sampling and shipping resources.

A training workshop conducted by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries in Townsville through Crawford funding (Australia) in February 2008 provided an important step towards improving animal health laboratory capacity in the region.  Participants from animal health and public health agencies in Papua New Guinea and Fiji received training in laboratory techniques and diagnostic serology for a number of significant diseases relevant to animal production in the region.

A follow-up training was organized in July 2009 in collaboration with the Tropical and Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory  (TAAHL) of Department of Primary Industries of Townsville Queensland (QDPI) and James Cook University. This was the first of a series of sub-regional animal disease laboratory diagnostic training funded by PRIPPP.  Participating countries included Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.  Since most of the PICTs delegates were novice to diagnostics,  this training provided good opportunity for exposure to basic laboratory set up and common laboratory procedures used in animal disease diagnosis. Practical laboratory exercises significantly contributed to better understanding of theoretical sessions. Among the diagnostic procedures covered were Rose Bengal Test, ELISA, Hemagglutination/hemagglutination-inhibition test (HA-HI), Complement Fixation Test, (CFT), Agar-Gel Immunodiffiusion (AGID) Test and PCR.
A second sub-regional training was held at the MAFBNZ Investigation and Disease Centre (IDC) animal health laboratory on September 2009. The training was organized by the SPC in close collaboration with MAFBNZ Investigation and Diagnostic Centre (IDC). Selected participants are PAHLNet laboratory focal persons from Fiji, French Polynesia, Wallis et Futuna and Samoa. Diagnostic procedures covered in this training included ELISA (Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay), AGID (Agar gel immunodiffusion test), HA-HI , RTK (rapid immunochromatographic test kits), IFA (immunofluorescence assay), PCR and a demo on CFT.

Discussions with MAFBNZ IDC confirmed that readily available and reliable diagnostic services can be made accessible to the Pacific region as a reference laboratory. The organization has a state-of-the-art physical containment three (PC3) animal health laboratory facility established within the the compound of the National Centre for Biosecurity and Infectious Diseases (NCBID) in Wallaceville New Zealand. The facility is currently used to handle animal specimen suspected of containing exotic infectious animal diseases.  Continuous communication between SPC, MAFBNZ and the participating countries will further promote a more sustainable specimen referral system within the region.

These interactions with reference and referral laboratories have opened up opportunities for possible future collaborations.

(Related publications: MAFBNZ Biosecurity Magazine Issue 95 November 2009 page 8)


PRIPPP Paravet TrainingSwimming pigs