First Regional Meeting of the Veterinary Epidemio-Surveillance Network (REPIVET) - Rabat, Morocco 11 December 2009

The 1st REPIVET Regional Meeting took place on the 11th of December, immediately after the regional training session of “GIS applied to epidemiology”. The objective of the REPIVET meeting was to discuss the constitution and launch of the regional epidemiology network REPIVET, in the framework of the REMESA annual action plan, and in collaboration with the Moroccan veterinary services (VS). The chiefs of the epidemiology services or units within the VS, or their officially nominated representatives, from 9 of the 10 REMESA countries, participated in this meeting. OIE was also invited.

The meeting was chaired by Morocco and Portugal. The first session in the morning was dedicated to provide an overview of the situation in the region with presentations by the FAO-ECTAD Regional Unit for North Africa as “the REMESA network: overview, achievements and the way forward” and “The epidemiology situation for main priority diseases (as per the REMESA annual plan approved by the Joint Permanent Committee-JPC)”. An expert from FAO-ROME also provided the presentation “Epidemio-surveillance networks and the experience in Sub-Saharan Africa”. The second session in the morning was dedicated to present and discuss a draft proposal for the REPIVET objectives, operating mechanisms, tools and links to other networks within REMESA (RELABSA, RECOMSA, and RESEPSA) and to present the REPIVET space and forum within the FAO-ECTAD-Tunis web site. The debate went on until the afternoon session, which also included the presentation of a draft 6 month work plan (January-July 2009) for the REPIVET activities.

The REPIVET meeting proved to be effective in creating a framework for the discussions that have permitted the launch of the veterinary epidemio-surveillance network. This has been possible thanks to series of meetings and sessions that have been organized in the last 2 years and a half of FAO-ECTAD Regional Unit for North Africa activity, notably the four regional coordination meetings, side regional meetings and the epidemio-surveillance related trainings (TAD info, HPAI-Wildlife) that had included specific sessions to discuss regional disease situation (at least one day regional sessions had been organized for FMD, BT, PPR, RVF and HPAI) and prevention/control strategies.

Moreover this REPIVET meeting had been preceded by the 15-16 of July 2009 JPC of REMESA meeting in which a list of 7+1 priority diseases had been discussed by the REMESA countries’ CVOs or their representatives. Based on these discussions the REPIVET meeting was basically focused on agreeing on objectives, composition, operating mechanisms and a short term 6 month work plan under the Portuguese presidency.