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Curtains raised on new veterinary lab

Lyna Mohamad

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong yesterday officiated a Doa Selamat ceremony marking the official opening of the new Veterinary Laboratory for the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab, deputy permanent secretaries at the MPRT, acting director of Agriculture and Agrifood and senior officers from the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood also attended.

The ceremony opened with a recitation of Doa Selamat by Haji Hanafiah bin Haji Mahmud, before the minister performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony and signed a plaque. After a video presentation on the background of the lab, upgrade objectives and lab facility details, the minister toured the new building.

Located at the Terunjing Agricultural Development Area (KKP Terunjing), the building comes under the management of the Veterinary Laboratory Services Unit (UPMV), Livestock Industry and Veterinary Services Division.

The unit will implement animal disease control and livestock food security support programmes including tracing and identifying animal/livestock disease as control and eradication of animal/livestock disease and analysing of livestock processed food to trace contamination of pathogen. It will also be responsible for analysing the medicinal residues and physical quality test to monitor livestock production quality, and to support the monitoring programme for livestock food towards producing quality livestock production.

Established in 1978 under the supervision of the Veterinary Clinic in Jalan Kumbang Pasang, the unit later moved to the building beside the Bolkiah Camp in Jalan Berakas, and was known as Animal Disease Research Laboratory.

In 1988, with the addition of the inspection scope and the compact condition of the lab, it was then moved to the Brunei Agriculture Research Centre in Kilanas, with a name change to the Diagnostic Laboratory.

ABOVE & BELOW: The new Veterinary Laboratory Services building; and Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Apong takes a closer look at samples collected for laboratory testing. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

The Diagnostic Lab expanded the existing inspection scope, such as the clinical pathology, turning the lab into a referral centre for livestock health status.

In 1997, the Diagnostic Lab had a name change to UPMV, which remains until today.

UPMV is the only national veterinary lab responsible for providing support for the increase in livestock industry production and towards the accreditation of the department as a Competent Veterinary Authority (CVA).

The department has implemented measures to realise this role, which among others, is to obtain the accreditation of ISO/IEC 17025, increase the scope of laboratory testing services of interest, and meet the needs of importing countries.

The department – through the 11th National Development Plan budget allocation – in tandem with the Research, Analysis and Referral of Animal Disease Centre programme implemented the veterinary lab upgrade project with the objective of meeting the international guidelines relevant to lab analytics, which include International Standard of ISO/IEC 17025 and the Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standard.

It also enables the lab to safely conduct tests on animal zoonotic diseases, with the construction of the Biosafety Laboratory Level 3 (BSL3).

The new lab will be able to implement plans to include laboratory tests of interest, while meeting the needs of importing countries. It can also prepare the country to deal with problems arisen from the spread of infectious animal diseases.

Livestock operators keen on securing a lab inspection and analysing services can acquire more details from the official Department of Agriculture and Agrifood website or call the Veterinary Lab line at 8965122.

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