Lab getting facelift to control animal diseases


THE National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority (Naqia) laboratories will be refurbished to help improve Papua New Guinea’s capacity to detect and control emergency animal diseases.
The National Animal Heath and Food Testing Laboratory (NAHFTL) facility in Kilakila will be renovated through the Pacific horticultural and agricultural market access plus programme (Phama Plus) funded by the Australian government.
These improvements are expected to increase the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) capability, as well as infrastructure support services (electrical, mechanical and hydraulic).
Australian High Commission minister-counsellor Diane Barclay said Australia was proud to announce this additional support to refurbish the laboratory and support services at the facility. “This support is critical now more than ever with the increasing occurrence of animal diseases such as African swine fever, a threat to Papua New Guinea livelihoods,’ she said.
Barclay said the support would complement a broader laboratory capacity development project with Naqia, supported by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, to develop PNG’s PCR diagnostics capacity.
“Our support will significantly improve diagnostic testing capability and emergency response.
“It will also support NAHFTL capacity to provide rapid testing for disease investigations and potentially serve as a regional reference laboratory for the Pacific,” she said.
Naqia managing director Joel Alu said improving the laboratory capacity at Naqia would greatly improve and enhance the authority’s surveillance, diagnostics and export certification capacity.
Alu thanked the Phama Plus programme for providing critical personal protective equipment.