From June 24th to 26th the Republic of Niger hosted a regional seminar on rabies, bringing together OIE Delegates of the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as physicians of public health services of these same countries, entrusted with monitoring of human rabies cases.
The meeting benefited from the presence of several ministers and ambassadors, the resident representative of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Overview of the high table during the opening ceremony. Picture © Daniel Bourzat (oie) 2014
After a quick recap of the main lessons and recommendations adopted by over 110 countries during the OIE Global Conference on Rabies in September 2011 (Incheon-Seoul, Korea), the existing OIE standards on this topic were analysed. Aspects related to the control of stray dogs, the network of OIE reference laboratories, twinning and collaboration between laboratories and the importance of OIE WAHIS for notifying disease outbreaks were also dealt with.
Participants also discussed the implementing methods of the new “One Health” (FAO/ OIE/WHO) approach aiming at strengthening collaboration between the human and animal health sectors.
Country representatives had the opportunity to share their experiences with regard to the fight against animal and human rabies in their respective countries, in particular following a presentation related to rabies control in North Africa.
A working group session enabled physicians and veterinarians to analyse the current situation with regard to the control measures against rabies in their respective countries, taking into account the necessary lessons and identifying the key elements for a harmonised control programme against rabies within the ECOWAS region. In fact, this disease continues to cause numerous deaths in the region and throughout Africa, mostly among children.
Group photograph. Picture © D. Bourzat (oie) 2014