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Veterinary Diagnostic Lab to be ready in four months

Guyana’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory being constructed at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara

The Guyana Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory that will have the capability to test, detect and diagnose diseases that may affect animals and the public’s health is 45% complete, and is expected to be commissioned in approximately four months, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported on Wednesday.

This US$2.5M investment, which is located at Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara will be equipped to test for brucellosis which is caused by bacteria and affects mainly animals, including goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, and dogs,  bovine (cattle) diseases, leptospirosis and tuberculosis among others.  It is also expected to strengthen the overall animal health system and advance the livestock sector, while increasing production for local consumption and export.

The laboratory is sitting on what was previously the Animal Health Lab which was barely ever used and was not functioning as a full-fledged lab.  The old facility was demolished and redesigned. Construction which is expected to last for eight months is now close to the four-month mark.

Minister of Agriculture Dr Leslie Ramsammy, who visited the worksite today, expressed satisfaction with the progress thus far, as he explained that due to the rainy season some of the work was delayed.

Minister Ramsammy said that he is optimistic that the work will be completed on time, as he has been looking over the project and will continue to do so. “We are not only telling the people what is happening, but we have to deliver,” he said.

This lab is critical, he said, because Guyana wants to consolidate its food security, and therefore animal health is very important.

He also mentioned the animal welfare bill which is intended to address the wellbeing of animals, not only on how they are cared for, but reducing the amount of weight the animals carry and addressing their health.

“We can’t talk about looking at the health of animals and not have a credible animal health lab,” he said. Minister Ramsammy added that whilst Guyana will do some testing abroad, Government wants to ensure that basic laboratory testing for animals is available.

Animals in Guyana are part of the country’s food security, and Minister Ramsammy said “not only do we want to provide our people with the highest quality meat and the safest meal, but we want to make sure that we develop the cattle and the small ruminant industry to the extent that we have excess meat in Guyana that can be exported”.