FAO in Laos

FAO, WHO Back Prevention and Control of Trans-Boundary Animal & Zoonotic Diseases, Antimicrobial Resistance

The 9th One Health Symposium was held in Vientiane, the capital of Lao PDR, on Monday & Tuesday December 7-8. FAO and WHO are committed to continue to work with authorities in the Lao PDR to improve capacity for the prevention and control of trans-boundary animal diseases, zoonotic diseases and antimicrobial resistance. This will be done by applying the One Health approach amid the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

09/12/2020

FAO and WHO are committed to continue to work with authorities in the Lao PDR to improve capacity for the prevention and control of trans-boundary animal diseases, zoonotic diseases and antimicrobial resistance. This will be done by applying the One Health approach amid the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The 9th One Health Symposium was held in Vientiane, the capital of Lao PDR, on Monday & Tuesday December 7-8. The Symposium is an annual event providing a platform for all relevant public and animal health sectors to strengthen the One Health approach.

Attendees discussed challenges in protecting health and food security due to transboundary animal diseases, zoonotic diseases and antimicrobial resistance that are threatening human, animal and environmental health. More than 60% of existing and emerging infectious diseases that affect humans, originate from animals.

This symposium brought together Government stakeholders, development partners, health professionals, experts from universities and institutions from both animal and public health sectors to share information on their respective activities related to the One Health approach. They discussed significant public health events, progress of activity implementation and shared relevant information for joint action.

The symposium was chaired by Mrs. Vilayphone Vorraphim , Director General of the Department of Livestock and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Ratsamy Vongkhamsao, Deputy Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control, Ministry of Health, FAO Representative to the Lao PDR Mr Nasar Hayat and World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Lead for the Lao PDR Dr Reiko Tsuyuoka.

WHO Health Emergency Programme Team Leader for the Lao PDR Dr Reiko Tsuyuoka expressed WHO’s support for the joint efforts and the day-to-day work that protects the health, livelihoods and environment in Lao PDR.

“We have been facing COVID-19, Avian Influenza in humans and animals, and AMR related issues. These events have shown us that the veterinary and agricultural sectors can have a big impact on human health, and vice versa,” Dr Tsuyuoka said.  For example: in the past decade, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1), Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS CoV) and the current COVID-19 pandemic have emerged.

Mr Nasar Hayat said FAO was set to continue providing technical support to the Lao PDR’s animal health sector’s efforts.

“Lao PDR, over the recent years has improved its coordination and collaboration efforts in dealing with avian influenza, zoonotic diseases and antimicrobial resistance in both humans and animals. The response to the recent case of H5N1 influenza in Saravan is the real example,” Mr Nasar Hayat said.

“Collaboration and coordination among various sectors using the One Health approach is critical, especially in the context of COVID-19. This involves expertise from diverse sectors including public health, animal health, plant health, food and the environment to work together to address shared health threats at the human-animal-environment interface.”

FAO recommended efforts to enhance the One Health coordination mechanism and workforce which could include information sharing among sectors, developing sufficient and skilled workforce in the animal health sector at sub-national levels, and proper surveillance system of prioritized zoonotic diseases, he said. 

Due to the increased global trade and the high demand for food from animal origin, the risk of spreading diseases globally is on the rise.

Rapid growth of human populations globally has led to an intensification of farming systems, which drives domestic animal, wildlife and humans into closer and more frequent contact, creating conditions for the emerging of new infectious diseases, affecting both humans and animals.

Meanwhile, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) of disease pathogens is also increasing due to irresponsible use of antibiotics in the treatment of disease in humans and animals and excessive use of antimicrobials as a growth promotor for livestock farming, resulting in antimicrobial resistance causing difficulties and failures to treat bacterial infections in humans leading to increased mortality.