Neighbourly relations over animal health
First published 25 September 2012
A high level delegation of veterinary and animal health officials from tertiary education and government institutions in PNG is in Townsville this week to study James Cook University’s work in tropical animal health research.
The delegation, which is visiting the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences from September 24 to 26, will be accompanied by officials from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
They will tour JCU tomorrow morning(September 26) before heading for Adelaide University.
Dr Bruce Gummow, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Veterinary Specialist in JCU’s School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, said the PNG delegation were leaders in animal health in their country and part of JCU’s initiative to support Peoples and Societies in the Tropics.
“They have a say over imports of Australian livestock, detection of diseases that may spread to Australia and training of future health officials in PNG,” he said.
Associate Professor Gummow said the visit opened up research opportunities for JCU and collaboration with Adelaide University to address the problems of food security in the region and assist in building capacity in animal health sectors.
As part of James Cook Universities strategic intent to research Tropical Health, Medicine and Biosecurity a second workshop is also being held at the school in the same week from September 26 to 28.
This workshop supports AusAID work being done through JCU in the Pacific islands to help build inter-country disease detection capacity and will be attended by laboratory staff from PNG, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji.
Associate Professor Gummow said the AusAID workshop was about building diagnostic capacity in the pacific island countries.
“If we want to protect ourselves we have to invest in our neighbours. This delegation has chosen JCU above all other universities in Australia to act as a conduit for funding and resources into PNG animal health services,” he said.
“This is a tremendous feather in our caps and puts us on the map as being the leading university doing tropical animal health research in the region.”
“By having improved laboratory services in each country we have better detection of disease. This means less of an impact of diseases in the countries themselves and less disease risk to Australia.”
JCU was playing a key role in building capacity within Pacific island countries, he said.
“This is key to our role in the tropics and underpins the universities strategic intent. Both workshops fit firmly into the goals of what JCU is trying to achieve.”
Research theme for the workshop - “One Health”
Wednesday 26 September 2012
09:00-09:30 Hospital – Dr Margaret Reilly - Director Veterinary Practices
09:30-10:00 Pathology facilities – Dr Jenni Scott – Pathology specialist
10:00-10:30 Morning tea
10:30-11:00 Microbiology and biomedical facilities – Dr Jenny Elliman - Microbiologist
11:00-11:45 Production Animal facilities tour – Bruce Gummow
12:00-12:45 JCU campus tour – Bruce Gummow
13:00-13:30 Lunch with AusAID group (School Tea Room)
Note for media – the 9:00am, 9:30am or 11am tours are probably best for media/photo opportunities
For interviews or photos, contact, Sandra Pennisi on (07) 4781 4449.
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175