Fighting highly pathogenic diseases in Asia
FAO is implementing a major EU-initiative to strengthen the capacity of two regional organizations in Asia; the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in their efforts to coordinate and promote cooperation among their member countries to adopt regional approaches to fight against Highly Pathogenic and Emerging Diseases (HPED).
The organization has been specifically tasked to help improve capacities for prevention, control and eradication of these diseases in ASEAN and SAARC countries, still struggling with the ongoing H5N1-crisis, the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
Key in this four-year project, launched in December 2009, is the establishment of two Regional Support Units; one for ASEAN, based in FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) in Bangkok, Thailand and the other for SAARC, based in the ECTAD Unit in Kathmandu, Nepal.
In both sub-regions, FAO works on establishing regional epidemiology and diagnosis networks to provide standardized training, support information sharing and promote exchange of technical experts. Moreover, in the SAARC subregion it supports lead laboratories for three priority diseases – foot and mouth disease (FMD), pestes des petits ruminants (PPR) and HPAI.
FAO works closely with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen inter-sectoral collaboration between the veterinary and public health services in the two sub-regions.
Managerial, technical and field staff of veterinary services, animal health authorities, and animal health services in both ASEAN and SAARC member countries will benefit from a training and mentoring programme to strengthen their capacity for better cross-border coordination in disease control.