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 & Food Testing Laboratory (NAHFTL) Facility in Kilakila will be renovated through the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (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, hydraulic).
“Australia is proud to announce this additional support to refurbish the laboratory and support services at NAHFTL. This support is critical now more than ever with the increasing occurrence of animal diseases such as African Swine Fever (ASF), a threat to PNG livelihoods,” said Australian High Commission Minister-Counsellor, Diane Barclay.
Barclay said the support will complement a broader laboratory capacity development project with NAQIA, supported by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), 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, expressed his gratitude to the Government of Australia for this timely support.
He said improving the laboratory capacity at NAQIA will greatly improve and enhance NAQIA’s surveillance, diagnostics and export certification capacity.
Mr Alu also acknowledged the support of the PHAMA Plus program for providing critical personal protective equipment (PPE), consumables and equipment to complement NAQIA’s efforts in managing and containing the outbreak of ASF in PNG.