FAO in Egypt

OHTAG meeting identifies key actions and prioritize recommendations to address PZDs including COVID-19 and AMR


Cairo, Egypt - Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Disease (ECTAD) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-Egypt) in cooperation with WHO Egypt has organized, the second meeting in 2021 for the One Health Technical Advisory Group (OH_TAG) to discuss on ongoing efforts by the animal, human and environmental sectors to address PZDs including COVID-19 and antimicrobial resistance and identify key actions and recommendations to effectively address them.

The main topics discussed during the meeting included COVID-19, Avian Influenza, rabies and other endemic diseases.

“Enhancing cooperation between One Health approach members who representing various health authorities in Egypt is one of the main objectives of this meeting with the aim of addressing zoonotic diseases, which are among the major causes of human diseases, as well as developing basic scenarios for AMR” said Nasredin Hag Elamin, FAO Representative in Egypt.

More than 40 participants attended the meeting representing the General Organization for Veterinary Services (GOVS), National Laboratory for Quality Control of Poultry Production (NLQP), Animal Health Research Institute (AHRI), Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP), Ministry of Environment (MOE), Veterinary faculty of Cairo University, WHO and FAO.

"Covid-19 pandemic has shown us the size of the gaps in health systems, as well as the great interdependence between human, animal, plant health, environment and the air, which necessitates the need for cooperation and coordination, overcoming obstacles and barriers, and turning them into motivators through One Health approach in order to ensure the achievement of wellness, development and prosperity." said Dr Naeema Al-Gasseer, WHO Representative in Egypt.

The foundation of a One Health approach is collaboration, communication, and coordination across all relevant sectors and disciplines to address a shared health concern together, with the ultimate goal of achieving optimal health outcomes for both people and animals.

“Multidisciplinary collaboration under One Health approach is essential at this point in order to effectively prepare for detection, assessment and intervention to address zoonosis and other health threats including AMR and food safety.” Abdul Hakim Ali, Chairman of the General Organization for Veterinary Services, said.

"Egypt has made great strides and has a rich experience in combating epidemic diseases, including Avian Influenza. There are joint works with the ministries of agriculture and environment to activate the recommendations of the Central Higher Committee. It is necessary to act as one unit in everything related to public health especially under the threat of Covid-19 pandemic,” Mohamed Abdel-Fattah, head of the Central Department of Preventive Medicine at MOHP, said.

The meeting enabled to discuss and share information on the current situation of COVID-19 globally, regionally and at national level In addition, the meeting discussed the global update on H5N8 situation, national updates on influenza surveillance activities in humans, poultry and wild birds.

The meeting also followed up on the results and recommendations of joint risk assessment (JRA) for HPAI and Brucellosis as well as the future action for endorsement, progress of OH- working group for Rabies and AMR finally, Egypt preparedness for Rift Valley Fever– before heavy rainfall and flooding Moreover, FAO’s planned activities to strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration were presented, discussed and endorsed by the meeting.

The One Health Technical Advisory Group (OH_TAG) was established in 2017 to facilitate the collaboration among sectors and serve as a platform for sharing information and best practices on current and new events of zoonotic diseases as well as identify joint/multi-sectoral actions that aim to detect and mitigate the risk of zoonotic diseases and AMR.

It is worth noting that ECTAD programs and activities in Egypt are funded by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID).