13 May 2016 - The first high-level technical meeting since the eradication of Rinderpest in 2012 concluded in Rome, marking the first concrete step towards ensuring global preparedness to deal with a livestock emergency in the event of a re-emergence of the disease.
April 20, 2016 marks the conclusion of the FAO-OIE Technical Meeting: International preparedness and Vaccine Strategic Reserves held at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has organized the meeting where experts in vaccine reserves and preparedness plans can provide insights into how such a plan can be structured and how an international vaccine reserves can be organized and managed. The two-day event brought together experts from World Health Organization (WHO)’s Emergency Vaccination and Stockpiles, North American Foot-and-Mouth disease Vaccine Bank, National Institute of Animal Health (NIAH) from Japan Center for Animal Disease Control and Prevention, African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), African Union Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC), FAO-OIE rinderpest Joint Advisory Committee, FAO and OIE Secretariats, as well as other stakeholders.
During welcoming remarks from Berhe G. Tekola, Director of Animal Production and Health Division (AGA) said that this meeting is to lay the ground work for another part of the process of Maintaining Global Freedom from Rinderpest, the ability to respond effectively to a rinderpest outbreak should it ever occur.
FAO and OIE are entrusted by their Membership to lead global programs aimed at maintaining global freedom from rinderpest. Noting the significant progress that has already been made, the technical meeting sought to streamline international preparedness plans and establish strategic vaccine reserves.
The joint FAO-OIE meeting provided insights of its overall objectives:
- Discuss the potential options for establishment of rinderpest strategic reserves, learning from Smallpox platform;
- Arrive to the design of an operational framework for the deployment of rinderpest emergency vaccine in response to rinderpest events;
- Refine thoughts on establishing international and regional preparedness plans to be better prepared to respond to rinderpest if were reappear, lesson from smallpox
The experts noted that in addition to helping countries understand the risks posed by keeping the virus and technically supporting them to reduce the threat, capacity and preparedness to recognise, contain and manage an outbreak in case rinderpest ever reappears needs to be available.
The outcome of the meeting highlighted the need to ensure international organisations, national veterinary services and vulnerable livestock owners should coordinate efforts to remain alert for signs of the disease.
Taking into account the important role of awareness raising as an integral part of the program activities, the FAO is partnering with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to enhance awareness raising component of action plans.