Colorado State University Helps Develop Public and Animal Care Plans in Iraq

Colorado State University, working with the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture, hosted a workshop last week to help Iraq plan for public and animal health.

The Jan. 6-11 workshop included participation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and the U.S. Embassies in Baghdad and Damascus. Dr. Mo Salman, a Colorado State University veterinary epidemiologist, conducted the workshop. Salman is an expert in rebuilding veterinary services and government branches in underdeveloped and challenged countries.

During the workshop, participants developed a plan for the veterinary community for animal and public health and exchanged modern technical capabilities for controlling and managing the five priority animal diseases in Iraq. These diseases are brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis, foot-and-mouth disease, high pathogen avian influenza and echinococcosis. USDA’s Animal Health Technical Assistance Program in Iraq, funded by the U.S. Department of State, will provide technical assistance for animal health and food safety during the next two years.

One hundred and five attendees were at the workshop with 93 Iraqi participants representing the State Veterinary Company; four ministries (Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Higher Education, and the Ministry of Science and Technology); the Prime Minister’s office; the Agriculture Committee to the Parliament; the Kurdistan Regional Government; the Iraqi Poultry Producers Association; the Iraqi Veterinary Association and the Baghdad zoo. Each of the 18 provinces in Iraq was represented. The U.S. technical team consisted of representatives from USDA’s FAS and APHIS, the U.S. Department of Defense, Colorado State University, University of Georgia, North Carolina State University and Texas Animal Health Commission.

The workshop aimed to build a comprehensive national animal health program using modern techniques and decision tools. This workshop was a continuation of previous efforts by the same team in which four other meetings and workshop were conducted. This workshop focused on presenting options for managing the five diseases listed above.

Participants in the workshop presented the current status of these diseases in Iraq and reviewed potential strategies for controlling these diseases and current diagnostic techniques. The participants were requested to help craft a national plan to manage these diseases.

Workshop accomplishments include:

– Outlines of five disease plans for the Iraqi National Animal Health Program. The plans include goals, monitoring approaches, administrative structures and responsibilities.

– Iraq’s Ministry of Agriculture and the Kurdistan region signed a memorandum of understanding to establish full collaboration on animal health activities across Iraq.  

– The seven veterinary colleges in Iraq signed a collaborative agreement to standardize the veterinary curriculum and to establish lines of research collaboration.

– A link was made with the Swiss Tropical Medicine Institute with the potential to establish collaborative research in the animal health arena.

– A link was made with the Turkish Ministry of Higher Education to train Iraqi faculty members in veterinary medicine.

– An outline of enhancing the buffalo-raising units in Iraq was developed in conjunction with Iraqi Prime Minister Office and the Ministry of Agriculture.  Colorado State University will assist in the implementation of this plan in the near future.

In addition to Dr. Salman, the team from the United States included Dr. Linda Logan, APHIS Attach? for U.S. Embassy Cairo; Dr. Paula Cowen, APHIS/Veterinary Services; Dr. John Belfrage, APHIS/Veterinary Services; Dr. Max Coats, APHIS/International Services; Dr. Sharon Williams, FAS/Baghdad; Mr. Saad Kadum, FAS/Baghdad; Dr. Prema Arasu, North Carolina State University; Dr. Corrie Brown, University of Georgia; and Ms. Jennifer Maurer, FAS/OCBD Animal Health Project Manager.