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  : Responding : International collaboration : Collaboration between countries

Collaboration between countries

 
 

Considerable mutual benefits can be derived when countries cooperate in their emergency animal disease preparedness planning, particularly neighbouring countries or those within the same geographic region. Such countries often have similar socio-economic, environmental, epidemiological and agricultural production profiles and thus similar livestock disease risks, needs for and approaches to preparedness planning.

These countries may consider pooling resources in their emergency animal disease preparedness planning, either through informal networking or formally through existing regional organizations such as PANAFTOSA in Latin America, OAU/IBAR in Africa, APHCA and ASEAN in Asia, the Veterinary Committee of the EU and the EUFMD in Europe. This will ease the burden for all and, more important, result in harmonized plans for preventing and responding to animal disease emergencies. This is particularly significant in the case of transboundary animal diseases which, by definition, spread rapidly across national borders.

Potential avenues for collaboration include:

  • joint risk assessments leading to harmonization of import quarantine policies and other disease prevention strategies;

  • joint development by neighbouring countries of strategies and programmes to reduce the risk of epidemic diseases being spread by the movement across common borders of potentially infected animals, achieved through coordination of disease surveillance, quarantine, vaccination and other methods;

  • coordinated animal health programmes for ethnic groups who practise nomadism and transhumance across borders;

  • development of compatible disease reporting and information systems;

  • exchanging information on disease occurrences at a national level and at a local level near shared borders (Disease reporting);

  • dividing responsibilities for preparing contingency plans for shared high-threat diseases or at least exchanging ideas and draft plans;

  • reciprocal arrangements for development of laboratory diagnostic capabilities;

  • establishment of international vaccine banks;

  • joint training exercises, workshops and other programmes.

There are compelling reasons why countries should cooperate in their control and eradication campaigns for shared epidemic livestock diseases. A regional approach with coordinated campaigns in all countries is more likely to succeed and will reduce the subsequent risk for all countries to a greater extent than if countries act alone. Future export opportunities for countries in the region will be enhanced if diseases are eradicated on a regional basis