Johannesburg, South Africa

OIE training of Focal Points for Veterinary Products (cycle I) Africa-wide

The first pan-african training seminar for OIE focal points for veterinary products was held from November 23rd to 26th, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The seminar was organised under the auspices of the European Union’s Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) programme and united OIE focal points from 43 African countries, close to thirty speakers and 13 African participants invited by the NGO GALVmed. The opening session was officiated by Dr. Pieter Mulder, Deputy-Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.


Dr. Pieter Mulder, Deputy-Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Picture (c) P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2010

The 4-day organisation of seminar, coordinated by the French National Veterinary Drugs Agency ANVM (ANSES), an OIE Collaborating Centre, can be summarised as follows:

  • The first sessions were centered on OIE and its standards, as published in its Codes and Manuals. After an comprehensive presentation of OIE, its position within the WTO framework and its mandate of development of international standards, roles and duties of the focal points were presented, as well as the activities of several Collaborating Centres and Reference Laboratories to be concluded with a comprehensive description of the international standards as regards veterinary products. All major stakeholders working in this field were represented: (i) two normative structures relating to veterinary products at international level: VICH (for the registration of veterinary products) and CODEX ALIMENTARIUS (in particular for residues and the antibiotic resistance…), (ii) several structures of a regional scope (the European Medicine Agency and PANVAC for the certification of animal vaccines, economic regional communities, such as UEMOA and SADC, as well as the Southern and Eastern African Veterinary Drug Regulatory Affairs Conference (SEAVDRAC).


  • Thereafter, the floor was given to numerous private entities in order to present their activities, vision and prospects in the field of veterinary products (IFAH International Federation for Animal Health , world-wide scope, the Botswana Vaccine Institute, SAAHA, AfriVet and Onderstepoort Biological Products, all three in South Africa, VetAgro of Tanzania, AfriMed of Tunisia and the Mali Council of Veterinary Surgeons.
    The NGO GALVmed, the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines , which co-funded the seminar, organised a break-out session over one afternoon, working with a selected number of participants. The discussion focused mainly on opportunities to establish a system of mutual recognition of marketing authorisations delivered for veterinary vaccines, with a particular discussion on the part PANVAC could play in such a system.


  • Covering the consecutive ‘life stages’of a drug, a great number of very detailed topics were covered by particularly practical presentations on : the process of marketing authorisations (including minor species registration mechanisms in very small markets), the quality-assurance of marketed veterinary medicinal products, the distribution and use within the legal framework of the veterinary profession, including the role of veterinary para-professionals, the sequence of inspections from manufacturing to wholesale and retail, regulation and use. A specific topic an anti-microbial resistance was also presented. The OIE Reference Laboratory for the control of veterinary medicinal products in Sub-Saharan Africa presented the outcomes of an investigation into the quality of 2 selected drugs in approximately 10 countries demonstrating that in between 40 and 60% of the products tested lack in conformity.


  • Two field visits shed some light on the practical application of OIE standards : on the one hand, the laboratories of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute close to Pretoria (OIE Reference Laboratory for 7 animal diseases) for rabies diagnosis and residues in foodstuffs. On the other hand the production plant of the pharmaceutical company VIRBAC in Johannesburg.


  • Participants were thereafter invited to proceed with discussions on several topics in working groups. For a start, they were asked to list veterinary medicinal products that are covered by legislation and regulations in their respective countries, and to identify the various people and institutions implicated in the management of veterinary medicinal products, including their duties and responsibilities in this sector. What followed was an in-depth reflexion on priority needs to implement policies with regard to veterinary medicinal products, as well as a reflexion on ways to improve the participation of member countries in the development of the OIE standards and the compliance with those international standards.


  • Lastly, the OIE solicited feed-back from the participants on their needs and expectations as regards the OIE.


  • In terms of communication and access to useful information, a few web-sites were presented through an online demonstration (OIE main website, OIE Africa website, the two OIE Collaborating Centres of EISMV in Dakar and ANSES in Fougères).


Veterinary products banner meeting 2010

This seminar is regarded as the first step in a long process of strengthening of capacities of those who are in charge of applying OIE standards in the field of veterinary products, and will be used as a basis to build a continuous education programme, which should be in place within the next two years.

All pictures (c) P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2010, unless mentioned otherwise.

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