The Pacific Community member countries train in global animal health system for better Pacific disease surveillance

Animal health experts from the Asia Pacific region at the World Animal Health Information System training

15 Pacific member country representatives are in Chiba, Japan this week to receive training on the World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) disease notification training.

The WAHIS is an internet-based computer system that processes data on animal diseases in real time and shares the data with the international community. The two-training aim to support countries in maintaining global transparency and reporting matters of animal and public health and will support better surveillance and reporting of animal diseases in the Pacific. 

10 of the participants are supported by the European Union funded Safe Agriculture trade Facilitation through Economic integration in the Pacific project (SAFE) implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC). 

Both trainings meet the project’s aim of enhancing the Pacific country’s capacity to improve economic growth through the protection of local industries and the agriculture sector from exotic and invasive pests and diseases.            

The spread of COVID-19, as well as current animal diseases threats like African swine fever and foot and mouth disease, shows us the value of timely disease notification and information sharing for the Pacific,” said SPC’s Animal Health and Production Adviser, Dr Sripad Sosale.

WOAH and SPC have an agreement to share guidelines and obligations governing data and information that feed into WAHIS. SPC has been facilitating regional disease reporting workshops since 2009. In addition, through country requests, SPC provides in-country WAHIS training and continuous technical support for disease surveillance and reporting in the region. These activities are aimed at assisting the country’s submission of WAHIS reports to WOAH.

Dr Sosale says monitoring animal health through tracking disease outbreaks – followed by appropriate action – is essential for protecting the Pacific’s food security and safeguarding livelihoods. “The WOAH-WAHIS platform will provide more transparency regarding animal diseases present in the region. It will also foster safe and fair cross-border trade of animals and animal products as well as evidence and risk-based decision-making on animal and public health policies, he explains. 

The World Organisation for Animal Health is the mandated international organisation for collecting data on, observing, and analysing animal diseases worldwide. WOAH ensures the prompt dissemination of information on potentially devastating outbreaks and facilitates decision-making regarding the international trade of animals and animal products by collecting, verifying, and publishing official animal health information.

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