Tunis, Tunisia

OIE Regional meeting on vector-borne diseases in North Africa

The OIE Sub Regional Representation for North Africa (Based in Tunis, Tunisia) organised on 3 December 2020 the OIE Regional meeting on Vector-borne diseases in North Africa as part of the activities conducted under the framework of REMESA (Mediterranean Animal Health Network).

The Webinar was officially opened by Her Excellency the Minister of Agriculture, Hydraulic Resources and Fisheries of Tunisia (Ms. Akissa Bahri, picture) who reminded the importance of this topic for the entire Mediterranean basin and called for a harmonised regional approach to fight against vector-borne diseases including surveillance system able to early detect incursions of VBDs.

Welcoming speeches were also provide by Dr Mohammed Bengoumi (FAO Sub Regional Representation from North Africa) and Dr Rachid Bouguedour (OIE Representative for North Africa).

The webinar had the objective of making the state of play of the activities on vector-borne diseases in North Africa and, more generally, in the Mediterranean basin by putting around the virtual table all the actors conducting activities in this context.

The North Africa is part of the Mediterranean region and REMESA which is the CVO platform where common animal health issues are discussed. REMESA considers vector-borne diseases as a priority topic for the Mediterranean Basin.

The Webinar was attended by about 80 people from 6 North African countries (Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia) and several international and regional organisations such as FAO, EuFMD, IAEA, EFSA as well as Scientific Institutions (CIRAD, CNVZ-Tunisia, Pasteur Institute-France, National Veterinary School of Tunisia and IZSAM, Teramo). Networks such as MediLabSecure and ERFAN also participated to provide an overview of their activities related to VBDs. Representatives from European Union, Spain and France also attended.

In particular, the webinar highlighted the following issues:

  • The regional health context around vector-borne diseases;
  • The sanitary health situation of the countries of North Africa in relation to vector-borne diseases and the various control strategies put in place;
  • Status on the latest projects and research topics around this subject;
  • The importance of developing adapted predictive models for early warning as well as the identification of hotspot areas for improved surveillance;
  • The importance of adopting a multi-sectoral approach in the region that takes into account the multi-factor determinants of these diseases in the development of long-term control strategies in order to allow veterinary services to be more efficiently and effectively equipped so as to provide a rapid and efficient response;
  • Carrying out training sessions for capacity building of veterinary services in terms of diagnosis, surveillance and control against emerging diseases, in particular, training on entomological surveillance;
  • To develop a harmonised surveillance strategy in North Africa with a common objective to prevent and control VBDs by taking advantage of new technologies and tools;
  • The importance of communication tools as a support tool for the animal health strategies to be put in place and their integration into the routine activities of the Veterinary Services (epidemiological surveillance, suspicion, declaration, etc.);
  • Molecular and serological diagnostics VBDs, molecular analyses and molecular epidemiology, bio-informatics analyses, biosafety practices, biorisk-management, vector identification, vector monitoring and control in the framework of “One Health”.

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