The Deputy-Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development of Zimbabwe, in charge of livestock, the Hon. P.T. Zhanda.
The first cycle of training of OIE National Veterinary Laboratory Focal Points, a new category established in 2012, was held in the Zimbabwe capital of Harare from 29 November to 1 December, bringing together some 60 participants and speakers. National focal points from Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe took part in the three-day course.
The opening ceremony was presided by the Director of Livestock and Veterinary Services and OIE Delegate of Zimbabwe, Dr. Unesu H. Ushewokunze – Obatolu, followed by the Deputy Minister for Livestock of the Zimbabwean Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, the Hon. P.T. Zhanda, who delivered an opening address, along with the two representatives of the OIE in attendance, Moetapele Letshwenyo (OIE Gaborone) and Jennifer Lasley (OIE Paris).
In addition to OIE staff from the Paris head office (Programmes Department and Sciences and New Technologies Department) and regional staff from Gaborone and Nairobi, contributions were made by the Vice-President of the OIE Biological Standards Commission, Dr. Franck Berthe and the three OIE Reference Centres of Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in South Africa, and the Botswana Vaccine Institute and the Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory(in Botswana). Other interventions were made by the Inter-african Bureau of Animal Resources of the African Union (AU-IBAR) for the ECOWAS region and the ECTAD Unit of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO-ECTAD) for the East Africa region.
This first pan-African training provided African officials with information on the terms of reference and rules of engagement between national OIE focal points and OIE Delegates, the OIE standard-setting processes and the standards of the OIE, as published in the Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals(and to a lesser extent, in the Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals). Other speakers covered the transport of biological samples of animal origin, principles and methods for the validation of diagnostic tests, biosafety and biosecurity in laboratories, laboratory quality assurance, the reduction of biological threats in relation to veterinary laboratories and the PVS process in relation to veterinary laboratories : initial evaluations and evaluation follow-up missions, gap analyses, laboratory twinning and laboratory missions. National focal points from Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia and Uganda made presentations on their experiences with the PVS Laboratory Support missions.
From left to right : the representative of the OIE Programmes’ Department, Jennifer Lasley, the OIE Sub-Regional Representative for Southern Africa, Moetapele Letshwenyo, and the Deputy-Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development of Zimbabwe, in charge of livestock, the Hon. P.T. Zhanda.
Finally, presentations were made on the reporting on veterinary laboratories to the OIE, through the OIE World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS), the FAO Laboratory Mapping Tool and the (networks of) OIE Reference Laboratories, the OIE twinning programme involving these Reference Laboratories, as well as laboratory networks at regional and/or regional economic community (REC) level.
The training course was funded by the OIE World Animal Health and Welfare Fund, through grants from the European Commission (the European Parliament’s “Strengthening veterinary services in developing countries” project) with the support of the Republic of Zimbabwe
All pictures © P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2016, except where mentioned otherwise.
Group photograph. Picture © P. Bastiaensen (oie) 2016.