For a full week, Gaborone was buzzing with over 70 Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) experts, diagnostic experts and epidemiologists who attended two consecutive seminars, the first of which was organised by the FAO, with the support of the Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI), the European Union Commission for Foot and Mouth Disease (EU-FMD) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, through the FAO Trust Fund.
The workshop was officially opened by Honourable Minister of Agriculture for Botswana, Mr Christiaan De Graaff with the Permanent Secretary, Dr Micus Chimbombi and the OIE Delegate, Dr T.K Phillemon-Motsu present. The Hon. Minister stressed the importance of a regional approach to controlling FMD for the benefit of the SADC people. The joint FAO – BVI – EUFMD workshop built on the progress of sub regional laboratory and epidemiology networks and covered recent developments in FMD virus research especially by the reference laboratories, buffalo surveys within the SADC region, disease mapping, vaccine matching, diagnostics and vaccine production. The potential impact of transfrontier conservation areas, surveillance in livestock and wildlife and disease reporting were discussed. The OIE reference laboratories and collaborating centres offered support and clearly defined their roles to the progressive control pathway (PCP) for FMD.
The second part of the workshop, jointly organised by OIE and FAO with funding from both the World Animal Health and Welfare Fund (OIE) and EU-FMD (FAO), focused on raising the level of understanding of OIE Delegates and their national epidemiologists from southern Africa, on the progressive control pathway for FMD and how their national control programmes and strategies should be aligned with the regional goals (roadmaps) and global objectives. The seminar specifically focused on the recognition of country’s national control programmes against FMD, as a prerequisite in the existing approach for FMD freedom as described in the OIE Terrestrial Code for the 8 SADC Member States of Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe which have not yet attained formal OIE status as far as this disease is concerned. Specific activities and/or milestones towards regional freedom from FMD were developed for these countries up until 2020. Assisted by Dr. Lea Knopf (OIE Paris), Dr. Antonio Petrini (OIE SRR Tunis) and Dr. Keith Sumption (EU-FMD), the local FAO and OIE staff facilitated an exchange of experiences between OIE Delegates and national epidemiologists of these countries, as well as with epidemiologists from countries that have already been recognised as free of FMD, i.e. Botswana (Dr Kobedi Segale) and Swaziland (Dr. Patrick Dlamini). The former country is recognised on a zonal basis, while the latter is recognised as free of FMD on a nation-wide basis.
All pictures (c) P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2011