Asia Better Prepared Through Coordinated Efforts To Fight Trans-boundary Animal Diseases

By Minggu Simon Lhasa

BANGKOK, July 16 (Bernama) -- Asia-Pacific is making good progress in the fight against trans-boundary animal diseases, according to Food and Agricultute Organisation (FAO) Wednesday.

It said Regional Cooperation Programme on Highly-Pathogenic Emerging Diseases (EU-HPED) has provided significant support to enhance capacities of countries in the region in their response to highly pathogenic and emerging diseases.

EU-HPED, which as established in Bangkok five years ago, is European Union-funded and collaboratively implemented by FAO, World Health Organisation and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

The FAO component of the EU-HPED programme was initiated in 2009 to help Asean and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries deal with high impact infectious diseases, including foot and mouth disease and avian influenza, such as H5N1 and more recently H7N9.

It said because these diseases could spread easily across national boundaries, a coordinated effort between countries was seen as essential, and to date, FAO has trained some 1,082 livestock professionals from 18 countries in Asia.

Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO assistant director-general and regional representative for Asia and the Pacific, said in both sub-regions, South-East and South Asia, a functional Regional Support Unit has been established for Asean and SAARC.

"This initiative has played a significant role in making the region better prepared against the threat of transboundary animal diseases," he said.

Konuma said this at the EU-HPED's annual steering committee meeting here today.

"The recently experienced animal disease crises brought about by emerging pathogens have provided a clearer understanding of the benefits to the international community of applying the appropriate animal health policies and programmes in order to safeguard public health and ensure food safety, food security and livelihood," Konuma said.


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