The 21st Meeting of the OIE Sub-Commission for Foot and Mouth Disease Control in South-East Asia and China was held in Manila from 10 – 13 March, 2015. The purpose of the meeting was to review recent developments in FMD in the region and worldwide, assess programme progress, disseminate key developments, and make recommendations of policy, strategic, technical and governance matters.
The meeting was opened by Dr Monique Eloit, Deputy Director-General of the OIE, and Dr Davinio Catbagan, Assistant Secretary for Livestock for the Philippines Department of Agriculture. Dr Eloit highlighted the critical role of the Veterinary Services in fighting FMD and other transboundary animal diseases, and thanked donors and countries for their support. Dr Catbagan emphasized the growing potential of the region’s livestock sectors, and the effect of FMD on productivity and its subsequent progress. Dr Catbagan also urged Member Countries to explore ways to control and eradicate FMD in a sustainable manner, and welcomed participants to the Philippines.
Participants received an update on the global FMD situation as well as activities of the World Reference Laboratory for FMD. Specific information was also given on the FMD situation in the Asian region. While the number of outbreaks reported in the region has increased, when interpreting this data participants were reminded that they should consider whether this is due to better reporting or whether the number of outbreaks has actually increased. The representative from the Pirbright Institute, Donald King, reiterated the need to receive more field data and samples in order to study
strain and potency selection in vaccines.
The debut screening was presented of a video produced by the OIE SRR SEA with assistance from prominent regional personalities in FMD prevention and control. This video emphasized the importance of FMD in the region and detailed the role of SEACFMD and its partners in fighting the disease. It was confirmed that participants of SEACFMD Member Countries would be able to translate the video into their native languages.
As is tradition, SEACFMD Member Countries gave presentations on their national FMD situation as well as information on activities implemented, challenges encountered, future plans and resources for FMD prevention and control. Subsequently, key partners gave presentations on their activities and future plans related to FMD, with particular relevance to the SEACFMD Campaign. The discussions highlighted vaccination as a key tool for control, and the need to discuss and study characteristics including strain selection and potency. Countries were also commended for the increase in bi- and tri- lateral discussions. Economic impact studies, including those conducted by Australia and New Zealand, were discussed and put forward as models to be considered by Member
Countries for their own studies. The importance of continued funding by the Australian Government (through the STANDZ Initiative) was also a focus of discussion. Donors present at the meeting were asked to extend funding in order to achieve the goals of the SEACFMD Campaign.
On the second day, the morning technical session included presentations on; (i) proficiency testing; (ii) FMD-related research; (iii) vaccine matching and post-vaccination monitoring; (iv) OIE standards on FMD and endorsement of National Control Plans; (v) FMD control projects supported by OIE in Myanmar and Lao PDR; and, (vi) the Philippines’s experience in achieving and maintaining freedom from FMD. These presentations highlighted aspects that SEACFMD needs to address in order to advance FMD control in the region. In discussions, countries asked for further assistance in preparing their national plans for OIE endorsement. The OIE confirmed that, based on the success of similar events in other OIE regions, specific workshops will be organised to assist countries in the preparation of national plans for submission to the OIE. The need for recommendations on vaccine selection, including strains and potencies, was underlined.
A session based on risks for FMD Control in South-East Asia and China updated participants on the progress of a recent animal movement study in the Upper Mekong Region. A presentation was then made on FMD risk factors within South-East Asia and China, including the different serotypes and their spread over time, price factors, production systems and changing r-values in vaccine matching tests. Strategies to mitigate risks, including vaccination and interventions at the source and critical points were also presented. A round-table discussion followed, focusing on the need to engage industry and to consider social and cultural factors in formulating strategies to mitigate risks.
The last session of the second day focused on the revisions to the SEACFMD 2020 Roadmap. Participants were informed of the rationale used when developing the Roadmap, the various iterations, and the framework and major strategies of the Roadmap. Information on the appendices to the Roadmap was given as well as the need to renew these documents on annual basis. Among these appendices, a manual to accompany major components of the Roadmap would be developed to provide further guidance to Member Countries and partners. A resource mapping exercise was then presented, with members being provided examples of what can be done with resource mapping in the region and its uses. Reaction was positive to these, with participants making some suggestions, and supporting the idea of an expanded resource mapping exercise to be used for the region.
On the third day, Dr Ronello Abila presented the actions implemented in the framework of SEACFMD over the past year, including key meetings and recommendations. Participants were then separated into two groups, the first composed of National Coordinators and the second of “Observers”. This parallel session provided an opportunity for both groups to review key points and issues for SEACFMD and to identify key actions to be considered for SEACFMD in the coming year. The main comments from the two groups were: need for a multi-disciplinary approach to analysis and intelligence gathering and synthesis; to engage policy makers from the top-down and across the range of relevant government departments; the importance of contingency planning (particularly for free countries); ensure consistency of national FMD Plans with the SEACFMD 2020 Roadmap;, and the importance of bilateral and multilateral negotiations. Moreover, it was agreed that a template for Member Countries contributions to the SEACFMD Roadmap Annex would be sent out in March 2015 and that this would be in turn completed by countries by June 2015. Lastly, it was also confirmed that workshops will be organised for selected countries in order to support them in the development of their national plans for submission to the OIE for endorsement. The aforementioned issues were discussed in plenary and taken into consideration for the formulation of the meeting’s recommendations.
A special session on One Health was held, with presentations on updates to OIE Standards on Rabies and the Regional Rabies Control Strategy, bridging the OIE PVS tool and WHO IHR Monitoring Framework, Tripartite Activities, and ASEAN Animal Health Activities. A presentation on OIE Vaccine Banks (FMD and Rabies) was also given. Discussion centred on the importance of vaccine selection; meeting participants were informed that relevant information on this topic will be included in the Global guidelines for Post-Vaccination Monitoring (to be released later this year).
Finally, key recommendations emerged from the meeting, which will help to guide the SEACFMD Campaign’s work in the coming year. Key recommendations included: endorsement of the Strategic Framework of the 3rd edition of the SEACFMD Roadmap 2020 and a time frame related components; organisation of a meeting of Director-Generals in mid-2015 to review the Final Report of the Upper Mekong Animal Movement Study; agreement to maintain and promote the OIE FMD Vaccine Bank; encouragement of Member Countries to pursue PVS follow-up evaluations; and agreement to pursue high-level advocacy at the ASEAN and national levels and for private sector engagement to
Dr Eloit, Dr Cresencio, and Filipino Undersecretary for Agriculture Reano gave closing comments for the meeting. Dr Eloit thanked attendees for their active participation and said that the Philippines can be proud of their Veterinary Services. Dr Cresencio also took the chance to acknowledge the Filipino Veterinary Services, as well as applauding the regional quarantine officers and national veterinary inspectors, academics and private sector. She also thanked the secretariat of the meeting for their hard work. Undersecretary Reano expressed his hope that the region will be free of FMD one day.
A field trip was conducted on the 4th day of the Meeting to Badaco farm to visit the facilities at a prominent Filipino dairy cooperative. A presentation was given by the Farm Manager on the management and operation of the farm, and provided insights on the Filipino dairy industry’s approach to prioritise disease management.