14 May 2013 - On April 23-24 2013, representatives of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research as well as national and provincial veterinary authorities of Pakistan met in Islamabad for the national workshop “Development of Strategy for the Control of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Pakistan”.
The workshop was organized by FAO under the United States Department of Agriculture funded project GCP/PAK/123/USA “Support to Increase Sustainable Livestock Production – Progressive Control of FMD in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan” and can be seen as starting point leading towards the development of the first national FMD control strategy for Pakistan.
Building on the knowledge gained over the past years on FMD circulation, the affected farming systems and the socio-economic impact of the disease on the various stakeholders, the workshop participants discussed how the envisaged FMD control strategy could structure some key components relevant for sustainable FMD control in their country. This entailed not only technical issues like surveillance, diagnostic capacities, vaccine availability and vaccination strategies, but also the legal framework, stakeholder awareness and overall national commitment needed to make the next steps of FMD control in Pakistan a success.
The large number of susceptible animals, including a dairy sector that is dominated by buffalo, and the unique production systems such as large “dairy colonies” that play a particular role in FMD epidemiology underline the importance of a risk based control strategy that will help the country to allocate resources to FMD control where the biggest impact can be expected. The strategy will pave the way for Pakistan to move ahead along the Progressive Control Pathway for Foot and Mouth Disease (PCP-FMD) to stage 2, a step reflecting major achievements of all involved partners.
Within the context of the west Eurasian FMD virus pool, progressive control of FMD in Pakistan is considered to be of paramount importance to achieve the common goal of all countries in the region: to reduce the overall FMD burden.
Since 2008, when 14 countries of the region formulated their vision of “West Eurasia free of clinical FMD by 2020”, Pakistan is engaged in this PCP-based regional roadmap. Next to strong national commitment to FMD control, the engagement in regional approaches is considered a prerequisite for sustainable control of transboundary animal diseases such as FMD.