The RAHC-AN and Daniel Grégoire, expert in charge of the FAO-ECTAD/RAHC-AN Communication unit, held from 11 to 13 November 2009, a Regional Technical Communication Workshop for Training and Planning (TADs, HPAI & Zoonoses).

Strategies, activities and results are integrated into communication with the guidelines and objectives of REMESA (Mediterranean Animal Health Network).

This training and planning workshop was conducted after consultation missions organised in Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Tunisia. These missions were designed according to the recommendations of the Communication Workshop held in Tunis during April 2008, to make, based on the episode of HPAI, a rapid assessment of HPAI communication plans / TADS in countries covered by the FAO-ECTAD/RAHC-AN, capacities, expertise and resources in these countries. Also to formulate recommendations for strengthening communication plans, a general improvement of capabilities and benefits communication, to get a better control of information and an increased visibility of Veterinary Services in connection with the services of Public Health Services and the environment (zoonoses).

Note that due to administrative reasons and time available, missions in Libya and Egypt have not been conducted.

The specific objectives of this workshop were (a) to return to the countries the elements from the rapid assessments carried out during missions, (b) to make stock of achievements in communication in response to HPAI episodes, knowing that apart from Egypt, no country in the FAO-ECTAD/RAHC-NA intervention area has declared any Avian Flu outbreak, (c) to train the participants (or consolidate their gains) in Communication (methods & feasibility), but mainly (d) to set the groundwork of the Animal Health Communication Network (RECOMSA) within the REMESA framework and to plan the support activities in Communication for a short and medium term (12 months).

The identification of these activities was carried out in a participatory method during identification sessions held during the workshop, based on observations and recommendations made during field missions. All activities were discussed and validated during the third day by all participants.

The objectives, basic techniques and modalities of RECOMSA were presented and discussed with country representatives (Introduction of the FAO-ECTAD/RAHC-NA website, the RECOMSA private area, the forum, how to access, the monitoring and the management of the platform). The forum was launched at the end of the workshop.

On the occasion of this workshop, elements / principles of a regional communications strategy for TADs, HPAI, Zoonoses have been presented and discussed. These elements are consistent with the general objectives of REMESA but will nevertheless be subject pending of validation by REMESA and its partners.

The workshop was attended by 12 participants (from Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia), essentially veterinaries but also journalist, communication and vulgarization persons in charge, and Veterinary Services or Government agencies responsibles. Libya has been invited but due to administrative reasons has prevented his participation in the Workshop.