Elaine helping to stop spread of swine fever

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ELAINE Kagena is helping to contain the spread of the African swine fever, one of the greatest animal health threats to the country.
She is a member of the National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority (Naqia) biosecurity team helping to prevent the swine fever in the Highlands from spreading to other parts of the country.
It can potentially wipe out close to 3.5 million pigs costing K12.63 billion.
She educates locals on the causes the swine fever, how it spreads, and what people must do to stop the spread.
It is part of the Australia and New Zealand funded-Pacific horticultural and agricultural market access (PHAMA) plus programme’s support.
“People are not aware of the disease and tend to blame it on superstitious actions,” she said.
Her team collects blood samples from sick pigs, running field tests, analysing, and reporting the results.
“As a young mother I have to make sacrifices and leave my family because it’s all hands-on-deck for these operations,’’ Kagena said. “Convincing owners to control their pigs is not easy.”
Naqia set up road checkpoints to prevent the movement of pigs.
In most PNG communities, men own the pigs, build fences and provide fuel to cook food for the animals.
But it is the women who care for the pigs every day.