11 July 2014 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the European Commission for the control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), have made it their mission to implement the Progressive Control Pathway (PCP) over the past six years with the aim of eradicating FMD at a global level. The PCP is a step-by-step approach to control FMD in countries where the disease is endemic. FMD, a highly contagious transboundary animal disease, can cripple a country's economy due to reductions in animal productivity and high costs associated with control and vaccination efforts. It mainly affects countries in Africa, Latin America and southern Asia.
By progressively increasing their levels of FMD control, countries can reach full eradication of the disease through the PCP's six-stage tool. The stages move from stage 0, at which the impact of the disease on the country is still unknown to stage 5, which corresponds to the official status of "free from FMD without vaccination" as recognized by OIE. The in-between stages move from creating the infrastructure necessary to combat the disease towards adopting increasingly aggressive strategies to eliminate FMD through vaccines and surveillance. FAO, EuFMD and OIE coordinate the procedure internationally.
In order to acquaint the FAO Animal Health staff with the PCP procedure, FAO, supported by the EuFMD, held a two-day workshop from 7 to 8 July 2014 at its headquarters in Rome with twenty participants during which experienced staff shared their knowledge and experience on implementing the PCP in the field. They also trained the participants on how to organize and implement a Risk-Based Strategic Plan (RBSP), and how to find the risk hotspots through a simulated emergency situation in a fictional country.
The PCP tool can be applied to all FMD-affected areas while also being customized to country-specific needs. It is also a process that could help defeat other diseases in the future. FAO, EuFMD and OIE will continue to organize regular roadmap meetings to monitor and review individual countries' progress and establish that countries have reached the next stage in the PCP. This helps to endorse individual countries' requests for further national and international investment to control FMD.