“Living in Vientiane is easy. It is a safe and laid back town with easy access to stunning scenery as well as cities such as Bangkok, Hanoi and Phnom Penh which are only a one hour flight away.”
Cycling to work.
“The traffic in Vientiane is nothing close to the chaos in neighbouring countries.”
Kristina discusses programme activities outside the FAO Avian Influenza Office.
“Since FAO started the programme in Laos in 2005, national capacity to prevent and handle outbreaks of Avian Influenza in poultry has increased significantly.”
Receiving samples at the laboratory.
“I would say some of the highlights of my work are visiting Lao farmers in the field and getting involved in the technical parts of the programme.”
Kristina discusses laboratory results from the Avian Influenza active surveillance with a colleague.
“About 80 percent of Lao’s population have poultry, the majority of which is raised in free roaming backyard farms with very little biosecurity. People depend on poultry for cash and protein, therefore prevention of poultry diseases is important.”
Kristina in her Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“I wear PPE when monitoring the culling, disposal and disinfection teams during the stamping out process. Last time I assisted in monitoring was during an outbreak of Avian Flu in September 2008 in two of the northern provinces of Laos.”
Enjoying sunset over the Mekong at a local bar after work.
“My husband and our two year old daughter live with me in Laos. During the day my little girl goes to a local Swedish preschool. In the evenings and on the weekends we often see other expatriate families with kids.”
A Swedish APO based in Vientiane, Laos, Kristina Osbjer has worked as an operations and technical officer for FAO’s Avian Influenza programme since September 2007.
“I have a Diploma in Veterinary Medicine and a Masters degree from the Swedish University of Agricultural Science. Prior to joining the APO Programme, I worked for an NGO in southern India and as a volunteer at a wildlife conservation centre in Bolivia. Later, I was employed as a veterinarian with a clinical practice in Sweden working with large and small animals, mainly livestock.
For my Masters, I conducted a four month Minor Field Study in Laos on Classical Swine Fever. I really enjoyed working on Transboundary Animal Diseases with Laos nationals. When the APO position with Avian Influenza was advertised a few years later, I applied immediately. I knew that I would enjoy going back to Laos to work on another important animal disease.
The APO Programme is a very good opportunity to get experience with the United Nations. Throughout my assignment, I have participated in capacity building for Government counterparts from the national level down to the community level. I've also conducted outbreak investigation and analyzed data, trained village veterinary workers and agriculture staff, designed surveillance programmes, worked on public awareness activities and Avian Influenza diagnostics. With special training funds made available to me, I travelled to Europe to attend courses in epidemiology and logical framework.
The potential risk of Avian Influenza causing a pandemic makes it a concern for many organizations so I now have possibilities to work with other UN agencies and NGOs. It is very rewarding to work in a programme that clearly makes a difference and since I started as an APO, I have learnt a huge amount about Avian Influenza but also about development work in general."