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Viet Nam and Lao PDR meet to keep livelihoods safer from transboundary animal diseases

12/09/2017

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) country offices for Viet Nam and Lao PDR have been supporting to manage and control the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and other transboundary animal diseases (TADs) in both countries with an epizone approach. It is critical for neighboring countries to work together to control and minimize the impacts of TADs and emerging infectious diseases (EIDs). 

The Government of Viet Nam and Lao PDR have previously organized 13 bilateral meetings on TADs control based on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. 

The 14th bilateral meeting was organized between Viet Nam Department of Animal Health (DAH) and Lao PDR Department of Livestock and Fisheries (DLF) in Ha Noi from 12-13 September 2017. Viet Nam Department of Animal Health (DAH) hosted the meeting with the technical input from FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) Programme. Participants from Viet Nam included DAH leaders, members of the coordinating group and representatives of sub-DAH in provinces bordering Lao PDR. Participants from Lao PDR included DLF leader, members of the coordinating group and representatives of animal health authorities from provinces bordering Viet Nam.

The meeting shared information and discussed issues on animal movement and surveillance of HPAI and other transboundary animal diseases. All participants were briefed in the animal health and disease situation on both side of the border. Interactive mapping was produced by the participants to identify important animal movements and bilateral risk pathways. Import protocols were discussed to facilitate safer trade between the two countries. Discussions led to a greater understanding of bilateral requirements for disease control in the Viet Nam – Lao PDR epizone. The next day, group work resulted in the prioritization of action points for disease control, capacity building and risk communication. Finally a framework and action plan for collaborative activities from 2018 to 2019 was developed and approved by all stakeholders. Veterinarians from Lao will be given the opportunity to enroll in the Vietnam “AVET” (applied veterinary epidemiology training) course and to attend the Epidemiology-Laboratory-Network meeting in 2018. 

The outcome of the meeting improved the understanding of the epidemiology of TADs in the bordering area between Viet Nam and Lao PDR. Continuous collaboration to detect, prevent and respond to HPAI and other TADS in the border region of Viet Nam – Lao PDR, and collaboration to facilitate safer trade is planned for the next years. 

“In order to better address TADs across the Viet Nam – Lao PDR border, it is necessary to continue to facilitate safer trade and a closer collaboration among government counterparts by building networks of animal health personnel at national and provincial level for outbreak response and communication. FAO will continue to support bilateral meetings between Viet Nam – Lao PDR and contribute to a safer epizone in the region.” said Pawin Padungtod, the Senior Technical Coordinator of FAO ECTAD Viet Nam.