In the sub-Saharan nation of Mali, Dr. Boubacar M. Seck is a leader in helping to prevent highly contagious and transmissible animal diseases. As a researcher, Dr. Seck is working with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and local partners to help manage disease risk on farms and to prevent the spread of animal diseases to local and international markets. Dr. Seck’s main accomplishment has been his leadership in developing the West and Central Africa Veterinary Laboratory Network, which studies highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and other transboundary animal diseases. For his work, USDA recently awarded a certificate of appreciation to Dr. Seck.
As Regional Coordinator of FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) in Bamako, Mali, Dr. Seck’s work is part of a larger cooperative effort between APHIS and FAO to develop and implement capacity building activities to prevent and control HPAI in West and Central Africa.
Network laboratories—like the one Dr. Seck helped develop—share training, technical support, and other resources in order to process and diagnose potentially diseased samples. By improving the network’s diagnostic capacities, scientists are able to accurately estimate the actual distribution of HPAI and other animal diseases in the region. This information serves as an early warning and reaction system to animal disease outbreaks on the African continent.
APHIS and FAO also conduct activities to promote poultry farm and market biosecurity, disease surveillance and management, and public-private partnership development, all of which are aimed at reducing poverty and improving the region’s food security. At a more local level, the agencies collaborate with West and Central African poultry associations to promote biosecurity and bird health.
USDA is also a participant in the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative led by the U.S. Agency for International Development to enhance global food security and reduce poverty. In support of global food security, USDA is leveraging its basic and applied research, market information and analysis, and in-country capacity building programs – such as APHIS’ work with FAO in Mali – to help advance farmer productivity and systems, and enhance food safety and nutrition, especially for women and children.
You can learn more about USDA’s collaboration with FAO in Africa by clicking here.