**Focused on Assessment of Veterinary Services and Disease Reporting Systems **
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized an advanced and specialized training for 35 veterinarians from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and KRG’s Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (MoAWR) that serves their field of work, designed to strengthen the capabilities of the veterinary services to detect, diagnose and record animal diseases and enhance early warning systems and rapid response to control it through developing the participants’ skills, and encouraging exchange of experiences within the activities of the project, “Improving Delivery of Animal Health Services and Disease Surveillance in Iraq”, implemented in coordination with the MoA and MoAWR, funded by the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), where the training commenced in Erbil on Sunday, December 19, 2021, and concluded on Thursday, October 23, 2021.
The Representative of the MoA, Magda Baddr Whaib, and the Representative of the KRG’S MoAWR, Councillor Rizgar Hama Khader, along with a number of veterinarians working in the sector from Kurdistan region and Iraqi governorates, participated and completed the training sessions, organized under direct supervision of FAOR in Iraq, D. Salah El Hajj Hassan, who characterized the interactive and participatory approach, as creating an opportunity for the participants to develop their tools and expertise.
D. Salah El Hajj Hassan opened the training session with thanking and greeting the participants and showed deep gratitude for the FAO-MoA-DTRA partnership. He added, “The importance of these workshops lies in the fact that they provide the possibility and create a real opportunity for exchanging expertise and increasing the capabilities of participants working in the field of disease surveillance through assessing of veterinary services and electronic reporting systems of animal diseases, in addition to enhancing skills related to detection, diagnosis and reporting, which has also included supporting them with field and laboratory equipment, devices and materials, thus improving animal health services.
He also said that the organization will make more effort in the future towards completion of the ‘One Health’ system to gain the highest level of animal health by strengthening the collaboration between veterinary services and public health services.
The Representative of the MoA, Magda Baddr Whaib, classified the training as a success. She said in this regard: “The lectures presented were within the training title and the information was up-to-date and comprehensive, as it gave the trainees a good opportunity to understand the topics. The organization, timing and the number of days of the sessions were suitable for everyone”.
FAO International expert and lecturer for the training, D. Karim BenJebara, expressed his happiness while welcoming the participants. He emphasized on the effectiveness of these activities in strengthening the technical and scientific cooperation between MoA and FAO by improving the capabilities of the workers in the sector as part of its role and mission in adopting training as a way to achieve sustainable development goals.
This training is an implementation of the recommendations of the surveillance assessment conducted in the veterinary laboratories and surveillance and reporting centers late last year. The assessment highlighted capacity gaps across the surveillance systems at central level and in the targeted governorates.
Completion certificates presented at the conclusion of the program.