Subregional Training Workshop on Recognition of Official Freedom from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)

Given the interest of Caribbean countries, the OIE with the support of the Government of Brazil, held a Sub-regional Training Workshop on the recognition of official FMD free status, with 27 participants from Caribbean countries members and non-members of the Organization. The main objective of this workshop was to provide all participants with information on the specific standards and procedures for the official recognition of FMD free status focused historical freedom. The venue for this event was Nassau, Bahamas on the 25th and 26th of September, 2018.

A regional approach for improved capacities for the proper implementation of regulations and promotion of regional strategies

The OIE has defined a transparent, scientifically based procedure for the recognition of foot and mouth disease (FMD) status in the entire territory or defined zones of Member Countries. Regardless, it is important to recognize that the Caribbean region is a highly integrated region and the animal health aspects have great impact on the region, therefore they need to be addressed by each member country but with a regional perspective.

In this occasion, the sub-regional workshop for the recognition of the Official FMD Free Status had the outstanding participation of the veterinary services of six (6) member countries of the OIE and five (5) non-member countries belonging to the Caribbean, strengthening therefore the regional approach. The participants were mainly official veterinarians in charge of epidemiological surveillance in their Veterinary Services, as well as potential personnel that could be involved in the preparation of documents for the application for recognition of foot and mouth disease in the future.

Participation by the representatives of the Government of Bahamas from the Ministry of Agriculture and Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), representatives of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), as well as Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA), PANAFTOSA PAHO/WHO and Caribbean Animal Health Network (CARIBVET), regional and sub-regional organizations was also very active; they attended the workshop as observers to explore new potential opportunities for coordination and collaboration for foot and mouth disease activities with participating countries.

Active participation and exchange of knowledge

The workshop was attended by OIE experts on Foot and mouth disease, technical experts from the region and representatives of regional organizations working on the control of foot and mouth disease (FMD). The workshop addressed issues related to FMD such as the FMD situation in the region, OIE standards and procedures for the official recognition of FMD free status and Early warning systems and contingency plans, among others.

In addition, during the seminar the relevant points for the elaboration of a dossier and the necessary integration of the work of the technical staff for the organization of all the necessary information was presented, highlighting the work carried out by the OIE to improve the transparency and the consistency of the official recognition procedures.

During the exchange of knowledge on OIE standards and procedures for the official recognition of animal health status, and through practical activities carried out through questionnaires and case study exercises, under the supervision of OIE staff and experts, all participants demonstrated a high level of knowledge on the respective OIE standards, it should be noted that it became evident that even non-member countries were aware of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (TAHC) and how it was applied for official recognition of disease-free status. The active participation of all participants and the exchange of experiences through this kind of workshops strengthen the capacities of the Veterinary Services of each of the countries in the Caribbean region that were present during the workshop.

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1 Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute

2 Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture

3 Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency

4 Caribbean Animal Health Network

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