OIE Extends Risk Prevention Activities

GLOBAL - The OIE World Animal Health and Welfare Fund has extended its biological risk prevention activities.
calendar icon 29 December 2011
clock icon 4 minute read

The OIE World Fund was created in 2006 to support projects of international interest relating to prevention and control of animal diseases, including those transmissible to humans, food safety and promotion of animal welfare.

The World Fund receives grants from various public and private donors. It should be distinguished from funds derived from the statutory contributions of the OIE’s 178 Member Countries, which are notably used to prepare and publish international standards.

The sixth meeting of the World Fund Advisory Committee was held in Paris on 13 December 2011 and was attended by forty high-level participants, including representatives of donors, such as Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the World Bank and the European Union, several specialist agencies in the United States of America, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as the Chief Veterinary Officers of five countries (Australia, Brazil, France, Germany and Spain) and representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of four countries (Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America). The meeting was also attended by high-level representatives of the World Trade organization (WTO), the World Health organization (WHO), FAO and private sector representatives (Supply of Affordable Food Everywhere - SSAFE).

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Brazil and Spain also participated for the first time, as observers.

The World Fund enables various OIE programmes to be financed, including the implementation of the procedure for evaluating the performance of national Veterinary Services using the PVS tool (PVS: Performance of Veterinary Services), with the aim of strengthening animal disease surveillance and control capabilities worldwide, setting up epidemiological and animal health information mechanisms and implementing training programmes for relevant key personnel to enable countries to rapidly detect, control or prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases of animal origin.

The Director General of the OIE informed the participants: "The organisation is also applying the recommendation issued by the Ministers of Agriculture of the G20 countries in June 2011 regarding the use of international standards in the field of public and animal health, information systems and good governance of Veterinary Services."

During the meeting, the World Fund Coordinator reviewed the new activities being developed. These include the launch of a foot and mouth disease vaccine bank for Asia. This vaccine bank, funded jointly by the European Union and Australia, came into operation in November 2011.

Another vaccine bank, in the context of a pilot scheme to vaccinate dogs against rabies, is also currently being set up in Asia, with European Union funding channelled through the World Fund. The aim is to achieve more effective involvement of national Veterinary Services in the control of rabies, a disease that each year kills between 55 000 and 70 000 people worldwide.

Another important subject raised at the meeting of the Committee was the global strategy to reduce biological threats, unveiled at the meeting of the States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in Geneva in December 2011. This strategy involves the strengthening, improvement and development of links between national public health and animal health systems and closer collaboration with the OIE through the Biological Weapons Convention and the G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

Participants at the meeting of the Committee also discussed the importance of developing a basic core curriculum for the initial and continuous training of veterinarians worldwide, supported by the presence of national veterinary statutory bodies that comply with OIE quality standards. This is essential to enable veterinarians to meet new societal demands and have a direct influence on the quality and effectiveness of the public and private components of the Veterinary Services.

With this in mind, it was proposed that the OIE’s existing twinning programme for veterinary laboratories be extended to include veterinary education, with the aim of achieving a more evenly balanced geographical distribution of expertise in the veterinary domain between the North and South.

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