FAO supports the work of SAPUVETNET
Interview with Dr. Manuela Vilhena, Coordinator of SAPUVETNET III
What is SAPUVETNET?
SAPUVETNET is a veterinary public health network. The acronym comes from a project supported by the ALFA program of the European Union, aimed to strengthen and extend networks between Latin American and European faculties of Veterinary Medicine to support and improve education in the field of veterinary public health and food safety.
Which are your partner countries?
We have partners in Europe and Latin America. In Europe we have representatives from Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and United Kingdom. In Latin America we have representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uruguay.
What is the project general objective and aims?
The SAPUVETNET III project has, as its general objective, the contribution to the development of higher education in the field of Veterinary Public Health (VPH) through cooperation between the European Union and Latin America. Through these collaborations, this network aims to contribute to the training of professionals more adequately prepared to evaluate situations, and find proper solutions, for public health-related problems within the concept of “One Health”.
What are the activities undertaken by SAPUVETNET in order to reach each of its specific objectives?
- Promoting both cooperation and interaction between several networks and institutions within both European Union and Latin America;
- Contributing to the creation of a common space of higher education in public health joining both European and South-American institutions;
- Promoting the modernization of the VPH curriculum in Latin American universities;
- Supporting several Latin-American higher education institutions regarding the implementation of a degree-recognition system applied to VPH;
- Encouraging the cooperation between several public health-related professionals, mainly veterinarians and physicians, towards the resolution of common problems (e.g. Zoonotic diseases and others encompassed within the “One Health” approach);
- Promoting our project and its ideology through the dissemination of documents and other materials produced by the partners utilizing the Internet.
Share with us how FAO has and is supporting SAPUVETNET in its activities?
The most direct way we are being supported by FAO is through veterinary expertise. Katinka de Balogh, a Senior Officer in VPH at the Animal Health Service (AGAH), is one of the founders and earliest collaborators with our project. We have worked together in the elaboration of educational materials (in English, Portuguese, and Spanish) and the design of teaching methodologies. Through accumulation of years of experience and content-specific knowledge, together we have managed to strengthen our approaches to contribute to the development of higher education and training in the field of VPH.
More recently, we have worked to create four  videos on beef and poultry meat inspection to be used in faculty-student meetings. Also, we compiled a dossier of teaching materials for meat inspection, specifically targeting veterinarians in developing countries and to be implemented in that context (this one, too, in English, Portuguese, and Spanish).
In the last few months, FAO coordinated an e-conference on “Rabies Prevention” and “Dog Population Management.” Many of our country representatives participated in these electronic discussions and shared their views in important matters.
Lastly, SAPUVETNET is currently working with FAO to suggest a VPH oriented curriculum to veterinary faculties around the world so that future veterinarians come out from their academic programs with a solid foundation on veterinary public health.
For more information on SAPUVETNET, see: http://www.sapuvetnet.org/