04 March 2016 – A new project agreement was signed between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO] and the Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services, Ministry of Agriculture, establishing the basis for the FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases [ECTAD] to support the Government of Indonesia to better prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats on February 26th. The programme, funded by USAID, will be rolled out over the next four years.
“This is a very positive activity to help solve the problems of emerging and re-emerging diseases in Indonesia. The project activities will increase our human resource capacity, from senior managers down to field officers” said Dr. Muladno Indonesia’s Director General of Livestock and Animal Health Services.
The Emerging Pandemic Threats [EPT2] programme builds on the operational platforms, institutional partnerships, and an expanded knowledge base developed over the past decade by the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) portfolio to pre-empt or combat, at their source, newly emerging diseases of animal origin that could threaten human health.
In the last 10 years, FAO ECTAD Indonesia, in close collaboration with the Government of Indonesia, has worked in capacity development, and provided technical assistance to around 3,000 animal health officers in 32 of Indonesia’s 34 provinces. In addition, ECTAD Indonesia has since 2011 implemented four projects on rabies control with the main focus on controlling the disease in the islands of Bali and Flores.
“I feel extremely happy that the project document has been signed so that activities can be rolled out in earnest. The ECTAD team on the ground will be able to support very important field activities immediately, which will deliver a whole range of benefits in the area of One Health” said the ECTAD Deputy Regional Manager, Peter Black, who attended the signing ceremony in Jakarta.
Indonesia as a hotspot for EIDs
A degree of success has been achieved in recent years in controlling HPAI in Indonesia through GOI-FAO collaboration. The number of human cases has declined considerably, especially since 2013. However, the introduction of a new clade of H5N1 HPAI virus in 2012 emphasises the continuing threat of virus introduction and spread. The persistent H5N1 HPAI threat to animal and human health in Indonesia, the emergence of Ebola and MERS-CoV in Africa and the Middle East respectively, and the recent confirmation of Zika virus in Indonesia, underscore the significant need to strengthen capacity and support to the Indonesian government in preventing, detecting, and responding to new or re-emerging public health threats which “spill over” into humans from the animal population.
“It is very important for this programme to collaborate with all parties, including other EPT2 partners, to maximise project impact for the benefit of the community, “said Muladno.
Indonesia has been identified as one of the ‘hotspots’ for emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) in Asia, along with Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The EPT2 programme will specifically focus around “hot spots” in Central and East Africa and South and Southeast Asia to prevent, rapidly detect, and effectively respond to infectious-disease threats, which are key objectives of the Global Health Security Agenda and the International Health Regulations.
To address the above challenges, the project will focus on the following priority areas: i) Surveillance and laboratory diagnostics; ii) One Health-focused disease control and prevention; iii) Risk reduction on commercial poultry farms; iv) Risk reduction along the poultry value chain; v) One Health capacity building; and vi) Emergency preparedness and response.
The project is aligned with the Indonesia National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2015-2019 on Improving Disease Control and Environmental Health and the MOA Directorate of Animal Health Strategic Plan (2015-2019) on the control of new emerging and re-emerging diseases, and strengthening disease surveillance and national information systems.
Global Health Security Agenda
The continuing collaboration between the Government of Indonesia and FAO underpins Indonesia’s position as the current chair of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Steering Group. The GHSA was launched in February 2014 and brings together nearly 60 nations, international organizations, and non-governmental stakeholders to build countries’ capacity to help create a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats and to elevate global health security as a national, regional and global priority. The G7 endorsed the GHSA in June 2014, and Indonesia assumed chairmanship of the GHSA Troika from Finland in January 2016.