FAO in Viet Nam

Avian Influenza and Animal Health

FAO ECTAD is successfully carrying out disease surveillance in livestock in general, and for HPAI in particular. This support has helped the Department of Animal Health to successfully upgrade the Transboundry Animal Disease Information System (TAD-info®) which is a data management system fully dedicated to animal and zoonotic disease information management and analysis, plus the Laboratory Information System (LabNet), in development and application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at the Regional Animal Health Offices (RAHO) and in veterinary epidemiology capacity building. TAD-info® has served as the official livestock disease reporting system for Viet Nam’s government for HPAI and other diseases. The disease reporting system has been established in 64 provincial Sub-Departments of Animal Health (SDAH).

Today, 210 officers from SDAH, 14 RAHO staff and 5 DAH Epidemiology staff have increased their capacity to use this software through training. FAO has also developed database System Software for Laboratory Diagnostic Management within the DAH’s LabNet, which helps in the management of a laboratory network comprising nine referral laboratories for livestock disease diagnosis and surveillance including HPAI.

FAO ECTAD has supported a network of laboratories in Viet Nam. These laboratories are capable of providing diagnostic services for transboundary animal diseases (TADs) of importance to Viet Nam, with a major focus on highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Early detection of a TAD is an essential component for rapid response to control an outbreak of a disease in real-time.

FAO is working closely with the government to sustain the activities of this network of laboratories for rapid diagnosis and surveillance of diseases. The network comprises eight regional animal health laboratories spread evenly across the country, in addition to a central referral point at the National Centre for Veterinary Diagnosis (NCVD) in Hanoi. All nine laboratories are routinely carrying out HPAI diagnosis on suspected samples by applying real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RRT-PCR) tests. These laboratories also perform post-vaccination monitoring.

In 2006, the Government of Viet Nam published Viet Nam’s Integrated National Operational Program for Avian and Human Influenza (OPI), popularly known as The Green Book. This is now undergoing a review for the years 2010-2016. FAO ECTAD has contributed a discussion document for the review including 11 key recommendations and achievable milestones for consideration, plus a proposed pathway for success. It is expected that by 2016 progressive elimination of avian influenza can be achieved on a zonal basis beginning with selected and contiguous provinces.

A comprehensive Applied Veterinary Epidemiology Training (AVET) Programme has been developed in partnership between the Hanoi University of Agriculture (HUA), the government and FAO ECTAD. This training is extremely important as it provides official field veterinarians in government services with epidemiology skills to apply in disease investigation, control and response. The mode of delivery and the contents of the training programme have been designed to suit Vietnamese conditions. The training schedule includes three weeks of classroom exercises in Hanoi and six weeks of field project implementation.

Early detection and rapid response to control an outbreak of disease is one of the major challenges faced in the veterinary sector. FAO ECTAD is working closely with the government to create a sound foundation on which Viet Nam’s veterinarians can standardise their approaches to the control of avian influenza. As part of the outbreak control system, 17 standard operating procedures (SOP) have been developed to help control avian influenza with 14 appended job description cards. These documents describe the duties of 14 disease control roles, as well as the reporting lines to be followed. This new version of the SOP for outbreak investigation and response is awaiting adoption by the government.