The United States Embassy on Monday handed over laboratory equipment to the Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory (BNVL).
The equipment, provided through assistance by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is worth approximately P1 million.
The Embassy said the equipment will enable the BNVL to increase its capacity to test and identify animal disease threats, including avian influenza, in Botswana and throughout the SADC region.
“The ability to recognize and contain animal disease out breaks is important not only for animals and the communities who rely on them for their livelihoods, but it is a key front-line approach to preventing the spread of animal diseases into human populations.
The spokesman for the embassy, Laona Segaetsho, said The Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory has been selected by SADC, with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to be a key regional support laboratory for all SADC member states.
“The selection of BNVL is an important opportunity, unparalleled in sub-Saharan Africa, to provide technical expertise and key back-support to neighboring countries in testing and identifying diseases of major significance for animal health, human health, and farmers’ livelihood, according to Segaetsho.
Joan LaRosa, USAID Country Director in Botswana said, “the equipment will assist the Botswana lab to become fully effective as a regional support laboratory, making it only the second in the region after the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in Pretoria to have the capability handle sophisticated testing procedures, such as identification of avian influenza.”
USAID has been supporting avian and pandemic influenza preparedness in the Southern Africa region since 2006.