ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe is taking significant steps to enhance its autonomy in animal health and disease control with the launch of refurbished veterinary laboratories in Matabeleland South and Masvingo provinces.

The initiative is part of the Livestock Production Systems (LIPS-Zim) project, implemented by a consortium led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ilri), supported by partners including the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, and the University of Zimbabwe Faculty of Veterinary Sciences.

Addressing delegates at the launch in Gwanda, Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister for Matabeleland South Province, Evelyn Ndlovu, emphasized the critical role of these laboratories in monitoring and controlling the outbreak of animal and zoonotic diseases.

The renovated Gwanda Provincial diagnostic laboratory now houses modern equipment and veterinary drugs, contributing to the transformation of livestock production systems in semi-arid regions.

Ndlovu highlighted the laboratories’ role in achieving Zimbabwe’s National Vision of becoming an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030.

The initiative is seen as a key driver in attaining food security and increasing incomes for rural Zimbabweans. The LIPS-Zim project, funded by the European Union with EUR 5 million (U.S$5.3 million), targets nine districts in Zimbabwe.

A representative from the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe, Sarah Piccoli, commended the long-standing partnership between the European Union and the government of Zimbabwe in agricultural development.

The refurbishment of the laboratory is expected to accelerate the diagnostic process, strengthen responses to health challenges, and support agricultural research for development in the country.

The LIPS-Zim project coordinator, Sikhalazo Dube, expressed gratitude to the government of Zimbabwe for its support during the laboratory renovations.

Dube emphasized that the renovated laboratory would not only enhance the quality of research but also contribute to the development of knowledge-based innovative products and services for life sciences in the province.

The project aims to empower veterinary epidemiologists and animal research services staff through training on database management, ensuring the sustainability of interventions beyond donor funding.

Overall, the launch of these veterinary laboratories represents a significant step forward in strengthening Zimbabwe’s capacity for animal health, disease surveillance, and zoonotic disease control.

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