FAO in Mozambique

FAO sets up a team of epidemiology experts in Mozambique

Group photo, ISAVET graduates @FAO/Francisco Chirrute

13 December 2022, Bilene – The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) today graduated the second cohort of veterinarians who successfully completed the In-Service Applied Veterinary Epidemiology Training (ISAVET). During a two-day workshop, 24 ISAVET trainees presented and discussed about their research findings and receive constructive technical feedback on the veterinary field epidemiology skills developed during the basic ISAVET training. At the end of all the presentations and discussions, the jury decided that all trainees will receive a certificate of graduation.

The workshop, organized by the FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) is the end of the four-month ISAVET training programme (four weeks of theory and tutorials, followed by three months of fieldwork under the supervision of mentors in their workplace) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The ISAVET Programme aims to establish a team and a network of epidemiology experts in Mozambique and to improve the prevention, detection and response to endemic, emerging animal diseases at the national and transboundary level under a One Health approach.

The graduation ceremony was marked by the speech of the National Director of Livestock Development, Américo Manuel da Conceição, who stated that " The implementation of this program constitutes a very significant turning point in the performance of the country's National Epidemiological surveillance system; especially in the districts where these trainees come from, over all,there will be an improvement in the country's health systems. I encourage the graduads to become mentors to other colleagues who did not participate in this forum, as this is also a way and opportunity for learning and knowledge multiplication".

FAO Representative in Mozambique, Hernani Coelho da Silva, intimated that "FAO is committed to continuing to work closely with the government of Mozambique and other partners to improve the country's capacity to prevent, detect and respond to diseases that may have a negative impact on people, animals and the country's economy".

The workshop was also attended by the cordinator of the National One Health Platform, Inocencio Chongo and the representation of USAID in the country, Monica Dea (Global Health Security Agenda Advisor) and Pereira Zindoga (Infectious Disease Advisor).

Research topics covered by ISAVET trainees

The ISAVET Frontline training Programme in Mozambique followed a regional (north, south and central) approach. The first ISAVET frontline cohort was conducted in central region for trainees from Manica, Zambezia, Tete and Sofala provinces and was concluded on 1 June 2022, graduating 23 trainees. The second ISAVET Frontline cohort graduated today started on 4 July 2022 with 25 trainees from the provinces of Cidade de Maputo, Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane.

Several research topics related to the epidemiology of animal diseases were addressed by the 24 ISAVET trainees. The prospective study of seroprevalence of Foot-and-mouth (FMD) virus in small ruminants in communities with a history of outbreak, prevalence of tuberculosis and brucellosis in bovines of the family sector or the evaluation of the use of pumpkin seed meal as an alternative for deworming piglets are some examples of the research topics.

This second cohort of ISAVET graduates adds 24 veterinary professionals more to the national network of field-level veterinarians and animal health technicians actively involved in animal disease investigations and surveillance, coming from various districts and organizations across the country.

It is essential to have an important presence of qualified field veterinarians and epidemiologists, as they have close links with the local community and are often on the front line of an outbreak. They are an essential link for effective surveillance, field investigations and emergency response. In this regard, ISAVET offers "service training" to strengthen, through a multi-sectoral approach, the prevention, detection, early warning, rapid reaction, notification and response to animal diseases, including transboundary, endemic, emerging and re-emerging diseases.