The veterinary services directorate of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has held a one day sensitisation and intervention workshop on Avian Influenza (AI), which is better known as bird flu to farmers and veterinary officers to curb the disease in the Ashanti region.
Drawn from the districts in the region, poultry farmers and veterinary officers from far and near were schooled on the bird flu disease.
They were taken through topics such as types of influenza, ecology reservoirs of bird flu,ecology species affected,historical background of the HPAI and LPAI, historical background of bird flu in Ghana ;Clinical signs and symptoms of bird flu in animals;Biosecurity among others.
Avian I (Bird flu), is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food producing birds (chickens, turkeys,quails ,guinea fowl etc), as well as pet birds and wild birds. It has been categorised into two namely Highly Pathogenic (HPAI) or Low Pathogenic (LPAI).
Since 2021, the state has approved and released GHS15,630,913.33 as a compensation to farmers, out of which Ashanti region had GH¢9,040,660.00 to fight the disease, which has been reported in twelve regions in Ghana.
Also,MOFA has recruited 550 out of 1100 personnel and posted to their stations with the remaining 550 veterinary officers due for recruitment and posting within the next two years.
In a post interview with the media, Dr Geoffery Akabua, the deputy director of veterinary services in charge of veterinary public health and food safety at the Veterinary Public Health, Accra, revealed that the devastating nature of bird flu disease is disastrous such that governments all over the world make huge expenditure in controlling the disease.
According to Dr Akabua, Ghana is not an exception as she has equally been making huge expenditures as far as the disease is concerned.
Akabua also told participants at the workshop that the aim is to sensetise them and turn them into trainer of trainers. “They will go back to their communities and disseminate information they have received,” he said.
In furtherance of the above, Dr. Akabua told the media the ministry and the veterinary service for that matter is not sitting idle and that a lot of measures are being made to control the disease by educating farmers, paying compensation, putting other control measures such as disinfection and others in place.
He subsequently urged farmers not to accept birds, eggs or manure from other farms into their farms, adding that they should practice good hand hygiene by washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after handling birds.
In an interview with Mr. Enoch Tawiah, a poultry farmer at the Ejisu municipality, who was among one of the participants, he lauded the government for the project.
According to him, the programme which seeks to educate them on the bird flu disease is good since it will enable to them to acquire knowledge about how to protect their farms.
However, Tawiah, who lost his birds to bird flu in 2021 expressed worry about the compensation he was given in 2021, saying it was meagre, which could not assist him to get back into business.