The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved Tuesday a 6.5 million US dollars loan for Uruguay to support the Foot and Mouth Disease Emergency Recovery Project and create a full-coverage livestock tracking system in order to keep the country virus-free and minimize economic losses.
The Foot and Mouth Disease Emergency Recovery Project, originally supported by a 18.5 million US dollars World Bank loan approved on July 31, 2001, provided technical and financial support to the Government of Uruguay to help contain and mitigate the impact of the outbreak. "We are very pleased to continue our support to this project. The program was fully successful in making Uruguay free of an economically devastating animal disease, which still has occasional outbreaks in neighbouring countries" said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank director for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. The additional resources will be used to develop and operate an enhanced and more comprehensive epidemiological monitoring and surveillance system, which would consolidate the epidemiological gains achieved so far and contribute to their long-term sustainability. "The project will strengthen Uruguay's monitoring and surveillance capacity to maintain its virus-free status with respect to Foot and Mouth Disease, and ensure the country's continued access to premium beef markets" said Alvaro J. Soler, World Bank task manager for the project. "The additional financing will also make sure that state-of-the-art regional information and tracking capabilities allow fluid communication with neighbouring countries." Specifically, the additional financing will support the following activities: upgrading the country's existing laboratories to improve their diagnosis and sample testing capacity; scaling up the National Livestock Information System, its nationwide deployment, and full integration with the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries' other information systems; and scaling-up nationally the livestock traceability system, following the successful experience of the voluntary Pilot Individual Livestock Traceability Program. These monitoring and surveillance activities will also be expanded from a focus on Foot and Mouth Disease to include other trans-boundary animal diseases, including Avian Influenza, which have gained importance in the past five years. In addition, the resources will support the expansion of related activities focused on training, education, and awareness of stakeholders involved with the Animal Health System, as well as the expansion of measures aimed at improving the coordination and monitoring of animal health activities beyond Uruguay's borders