Gov’t begins recruitment of 1,100 veterinary officers
The government has given financial clearance for the recruitment of 1,100 veterinary officers across the country.
The exercise, according to the Deputy Director of Veterinary Services in charge of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety of the Veterinary Service Directorate, Dr Geoffrey Akabua, is to strengthen the veterinary directorate.
He explained that so far a total of 550 veterinary personnel had already been recruited and posted to their stations, while the ministry was in the process of recruiting the remaining 550 early next month.
Dr Akabua, who disclosed this to Graphic Online after a sensitisation workshop on bird flu for poultry farmers and veterinary services officers of the MoFA in Sunyani on Thursday, said the government had approved and released about GHC20 million to fight the bird flu disease.
He said the government had also paid compensation of GHC15, 630,913.33 to some poultry farmers affected by the recent outbreak of avian influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu from July 2021 to December 2021.
The workshop brought together about 50 poultry farmers and Veterinary Services officers from the region to be sensitised on bird flu in order to help control the virus.
Organised by MoFA, the workshop was aimed at beefing up the knowledge of the farmers and the officers about the virus, its hiding characters and its nature to help them detect early signs and symptoms of disease in a bid to control the virus.
The participants were taken through topics such as actions to control the birth flu, clinical signs and symptoms in animals, the spread of the bird flu among birds and tips to keep birth flu out of farms.
Other topics include biosecurity, types of avian influenza, ecology-reservoirs, how do people get infected with bird flu and the government’s contribution and interventions against the spread of bird flu.
Dr Akabua said the disease was devastating the country’s economy, explaining that the amount of money spent so far to compensate affected farmers was huge, which needed a lot of education to help control it to save the economy.
He said he expected the participants to make good use of the knowledge acquired and schooled other farmers about the disease.
Dr Akabua said the government was committed to fighting the disease and urged the service officers to give off their best to complement the government’s efforts to control the spread of the disease.
Distraction of birds
The Bono Regional Director of the Veterinary Services, Dr Donald Joachim Darko, said more than 46,000 birds were destroyed, following the outbreak of the bird flu in 2022 in the region.
He said the figure, including an unspecified number of eggs affected by the bird flu, involved a total of 13 farmers, explaining that all the affected birds and their eggs were buried to prevent the further spread of the virus.
Dr Darko said during the outbreak, the service in partnership with the police banned the movement of poultry products in and out of the region and disinfected vehicles plying from the infected areas to halt the spread.
He thanked the farmers for allowing and cooperating with the service to embark on the destruction activities, which helped to control the spread of the virus in the region.
Dr Darko said the outbreak of the disease and the high cost of feeding had drastically reduced poultry and egg production in the region.
However, he said the production had gradually increased and expressed the hope that the region would bounce back to its full production by the end of this year.
The Head of the Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Bagbara Tanko, said the region was considered a hub of poultry production in the country.
He explained that the devastating nature of the disease necessitated the organisation of the workshop to build the capacity of industry players about the disease.
Mr Tanko said the recruitment exercise, and payment of the compensations and workshops, among others, were some of the government’s interventions to help affected farmers to re-establish themselves.
He said the ministry was waiting for the government to release additional fun for the payment of compensations, explaining that the initial amount released could not settle all the affected farmers.
Mr Tanko advised farmers to clean their shoes and clothing after visiting other farms or poultry markets; always change clothes after working on their farms and put on protective clothing such as masks, gloves or plastic bags, when handling sick birds.
He said the country would be on the safe path to reducing the devastating effect of bird flu and other animal diseases when farmers observed these protocols.