By Rayon Lakingu – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The country will now be able to effectively address the issue of Food Security and good nutrition. This comes after the introduction of the One Health Country Program by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, together with the Department of Agriculture and Livestock.
In a round table discussion yesterday (Wednesday) to collect views from various stakeholders, FAO PNG head, Ken Shimizu said One Health is an opportunity for all sectors to work together to address food security.
The World Health Organisation, National Department of Health, and officers from government and non-government organizations all attended, to have their say on the One Health country program.
The One Health country program is formulated under the Food and Agriculture Organisation project agreement on strengthening One Health Approaches for Asia Pacific countries.
“It is important for PNG to have a One Health Country plan. Once it is rolled out, PNG will be in a position to have some basic line data it will use for further surveillance, awareness, addressing issues in provinces, and rural communities,” says Steven Mombi, Department of Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Secretary.
FAO Lead Technical Advisor, Srither Dharmapuri, said the One Health program has been in use in most Asian countries, and it has been found to be useful in improving food safety and nutrition.
He said the use of chemicals and bad market conditions are a threat to good food production and consumers’ health.
Using One Health approaches will minimize the risk of contracting diseases.
“WHO came out with a very important report in 2015, where they actually looked at the estimated number of food-borne illnesses in various parts and regions of the world, as well as the causes, and they actually said, almost 1 in 10 persons around the world is affected by food-borne illnesses,” says Mr. Dharmapuri.
In rolling out the One Health program in the country, FAO PNG has already put together a country plan.
FAO PNG Technical Advisor, Dr. Nime Kapo, said the plan is to ensure better outcomes for food safety and nutrition by addressing prudent usage of medicines and pesticides in livestock and agriculture.
“So in terms of this One Health Country plan, we tried to find an entry point into harnessing this opportunity that we’ve had under the One Health regional initiative. And with all these discussions that have been going on, ensuring better outcomes for food safety, nutrition, and anti-microbial resistance, they are addressing prudent measures in medicines, as well as agrochemicals and pesticides,” Dr. Kapo said.
The One Health Program will be rolled out in the country once all consultations and discussions with various stakeholders are completed.