Johannesburg, South Africa

Regional Seminar on the OIE Laboratory Twinning Programme : Concepts and Perspectives

OIE Reference Centres, Africa – based Central Veterinary Laboratories and related institutions, collaborating through the OIE Programme for Twinning of Laboratories, gathered in Johannesburg for a two-day meeting sharing their experiences on their projects.  The goal of the meeting was to provide feedback on OIE Laboratory Twinning Projects in the Africa region and to take advantage of the established feedback process of the OIE to ensure project success, further development of expertise and sustainability.

Dr Rose Ademun-Okurut of NADDEC Uganda responding to questions. Picture © C. Nwosuh (NVRI) 2012

This meeting followed the twinning feedback meeting held in Paris in 2011 , the recommendations of which were reviewed from the African projects’ perspective.

The OIE Delegate of South Africa and Member of the OIE Council, Dr B. Modisane, speaking on behalf of his Director General (DAFF), saw this seminar as a way of strengthening the twinning concept and to contribute overall to stronger global disease security. The OIE Sub-Regional Representative for southern Africa, Dr N. Mapitse emphasised the need to channel the limited resources on high impact projects, and  preferably on those with a regional interest and demonstrated sustainability. Dr Ph. Majiwa, also on behalf of the Head of the Institute, ARC OVI, outlined the activities and services offered by the six OIE Reference Laboratories, hosted by OVI.

The meeting was a success in that thirty three participants from nineteen countries actively and constructively discussed their experiences.  It was evident that some of the twinning projects evolved from previous collaboration between institutions and took advantage of the concept to build capacity further, whereas others used the concept to initiate a first collaboration for capacity building. Participants were unanimous in that any candidate laboratory must have the full political and financial support from its own government for equipment, personnel and training.  Projects shared their experiences ranging from specific diseases, food safety, veterinary products to general capacity building with multiple diseases focus.  Specific benefits and challenges, available options, whether tried and tested or not, were weighed and proposed.

“Life after twinning” raised interesting debates which revolved around sustainability and financial resources. It was clear that the backbone of ensuring post-twinning activities was the establishment of long term scientific collaborations.

The meeting provided positive feedback to the twinning projects’ “Parent” and “Candidate” Laboratories, potential future twinning agreements, Reference Centres and the OIE. The OIE Regional and Sub Regional Representations were requested to continue guiding the Member Countries who want to embark on the programme and the Reference Centres assured their continued support to offer services to the Central Veterinary Laboratories and maintain the networks.

Group Photo. Picture © N. Mapitse (oie) 2012

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