14 Feb 2014 -- The Emergency Centre of Transboundary Disease Control (ECTAD) FAO was asked to participate and contribute to the Ministerial level meeting on the H7N9 national preparedness plan. The meeting was chaired by Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and engaged senior government officials from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Investigation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These are some of the Ministries that are responsible to support MARD to prevent incursion of H7N9 into Viet Nam, and respond rapidly should the virus enter the country.
Addressing workshop participants, Dr. Subhash Morzaria (Regional Manager, FAO ECTAD Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP), on behalf of Mr. Konuma, the Assistant Director General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific (RAP). stressed that active surveillance and transparent reporting of slightly sick or dead birds to local veterinary authorities for sampling is of utmost importance to increase the likelihood of detecting the presence of H7N9 in Vietnam. Furthermore, the Government should organize simulation exercises to include central, Provincial, District and commune level staff in order to increase preparedness, improve risk communication at provincial and market levels, and clarify roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in case there is a need for market closures, cleaning and disinfection.
The National H7N9 Preparedness Plan was approved by the MARD Minister on 14 February and takes effect immediately, and it was accompanied by a new telegram by the Prime Minister issued on the same day entitled “Strengthen prevention of avian influenza H7N9 and other highly pathogenic avian influenzas which are transmittable to human”.
With sound experience gained from the H5N1 HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) fight, FAO Viet Nam has affirmed its commitment to work closely with MARD, other Ministries and international organisations including WHO to be prepared and respond to this newly emerging threat.