Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Disease (ECTAD) - Viet Nam

FAO-DAH’s participant-driven training improves influenza surveillance in Viet Nam


Early detection and response to effectively control a disease outbreak is a key component for pandemic preparedness.  To strengthen influenza surveillance capacity of the animal health authorities in Viet Nam, the Department of Animal Health within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (DAH-MARD) and the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) of FAO Viet Nam recently conducted five participant-driven training courses on poultry and swine influenza surveillance involving 183 field and laboratory veterinarians, and financial staff from across the country. FAO ECTAD strives to provide and enhance technical capacity to FAO member countries and seek ways to keep training practical, helpful and most importantly, sustainable.

Each two-day training course aimed to address key gaps those were previously identified by government staff at sub-national and national levels including: sample collection skills of field staff, questionnaire completion, sample quality, laboratory reporting, surveillance analysis, response activities following detections, and financial management.

In order to boost participation from trainees, participatory training methods such as group quizzes, case-based learning, role-play, and field exercises were used.  Using scenarios based on real situations in Viet Nam, participants were able to identify unusual surveillance findings and develop follow-up action plans.

Staff from each Regional Animal Health Office laboratory were also involved as trainers, demonstrating use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and leading discussions about appropriate selection for outbreaks versus live animal sampling and environmental surveillance based on the level of risk of transmission. RAHO staff then led a sample collection session involving demonstration of the sample collection techniques for chickens, ducks, pigs, and the environment and practice by participants.

Financial staff were involved in two days of separate discussions and review of guidance documents aimed at streamlining financial requirements of the program. A combined session of technical and financial staff enabled local and national issues in financial management to be identified and recommendations for improvement made.

“Feedback on the training courses was very positive, with technical staff enjoying the case-based approach and opportunity to work with laboratory staff to practice sample collection. After the course, participants felt their knowledge of surveillance had improved and that they were better able to analyse surveillance data. In order to ensure the technical contents are well accepted and adapted among the participants, refresher courses using a similar participant-driven approach are planned in 2017” said Laura Macfarlane-Berry, the International Epidemiology Expert of FAO ECTAD Viet Nam.