21 April 2017 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Rinderpest-Secretariat organized a technical meeting to discuss the Global Rinderpest Action Plan (GRAP) at FAO headquarters from 28-29 March 2017. Participants included representatives from the FAO-OIE Rinderpest Joint Advisory Committee (JAC), FAO, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), The Pirbright Institute, Japan National Institute of Animal Health (NIAH) and the Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI).
The group is expected to contribute expertise and assist in the development of the GRAP; in addition to providing guidance on additional international preparedness activities.
Participants were welcomed by Dr Berhe G. Tekola, Director of Animal Production and Health Division (AGA). Both the FAO and OIE memberships have required an international preparedness plan and, the Director said in his opening remarks, the work you will accomplish over the next two days will be a key component to build the required capacity to prepare for, prevent, detect, respond to and recover from an outbreak should it re-occur.
FAO and its partners fought a long battle against rinderpest that resulted in the global declaration of freedom in 2011. However, the task is not yet complete as FAO and OIE are fully engaged in the post-eradication phase to maintain the global freedom from this devastating plague. A critical gap in terms of a robust GRAP that meets a global expectation of returning to a rinderpest-free status remains unaddressed. To address this gap, the Rinderpest-Secretariat has formed the GRAP group to ensure the world remains free from rinderpest. The overall goal of the GRAP Group,led by the Rinderpest-Secretariat with the support of the Crisis Management Centre – Animal Health (CMC-AH), is to prepare Global Rinderpest Action Plan (GRAP) that fits the current needs and provide guidance on required activities, including training and simulation exercises. The inclusive expertise in the group is expected to guide the overall GRAP process that ensures all nations, regions and communities are able to prepare for and eradicate a rinderpest re-emergence.
Outcomes of the meeting include an outline with the main components of the GRAP. Group members of GRAP were also assigned key responsibilities to lead on sections of the plan. Procedural and resource gaps in the GRAP were also identified for further clarification by relevant partners. The members took a note of questions relating to the deployment of rinderpest vaccines, which they had passed to the Rinderpest Vaccine Reserve (RVR) working group who met the following days from 30-31 March 2017.
The Global Rinderpest Action Plan will be validated through simulation exercises in Africa and Asia by 2018.
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