Regional Meeting: National Focal Points for Communication


The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific and the Sub-Regional Representation for South East Asia organised a meeting to bring together the National Focal Points (FPs) of the region to support an active regional communication network and facilitate information sharing between WOAH and its Members. Participants heard from colleagues in the region who shared successes, challenges and experiences when communicating animal health topics in domestic settings, to facilitate learning and information sharing.

Dr Hirofumi Kugita, Representative from the WOAH Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific, highlighted how the previous year was a time of renewal and revitalization for the organisation, underlining the importance of improving communication skills and having a clear and solid communication strategy, especially for those working in veterinary services. Dr Kugita also highlighted the coming 100th anniversary of the organisation, celebrated next January 2024, and the chance it would give to emphasize what WOAH does for Members in animal health and welfare.

Updates were provided by WOAH staff, Mr Basilio Valdehuesa (Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific) and Mr Guillaume Maltaverne (Sub-regional Representation for South East Asia), who reviewed regional animal health campaigns and resources, and clarified the role of an “FP for Communication.” Ms Lucia Escati from WOAH headquarters also joined to summarise new toolkits and communication resources produced by global headquarters, highlighting the communication plans for the WOAH 100th anniversary.

Dr Janice Garcia introduced Mr Jezekiel Guardiano of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Philippines, who shared experiences and awareness campaign activities for African swine fever, giving an overview of work and strategies for combatting this deadly animal disease. Part of the BAI presentation included a video designed for public awareness of the disease, which included a mascot named “Super Pig” aimed at popularising technical terms and policies of the Philippines ASF programme.

Ms Valerie Kalopong of Biosecurity Vanuatu, Vanuatu, followed with a presentation on animal health activities in the Pacific country. She highlighted the unique challenges the island-based society faces, with special geographic and social environments to consider when tackling animal disease issues. Awareness was consider as a key cornerstone of any ASF strategy, and workshops and trainings were conducted accordingly, using various tools (some adapted from WOAH resources) for support, some in local languages.

Dr Adhiraj Mishra, representing the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying of India, also shared highlights in communicating for animal health domestically, giving an overview of programmes, challenges, and successes in India in mitigating disease and educating the public on various animal health issues.

The last session of the 2-hour meeting was set aside to discuss the regional website: how Members use it, what are the best practices WOAH recommends for finding information on it, and how it can be improved to better suit users’ needs. Valuable insights were gathered from attendees via Mentimeter, and the results are shared in the link below. WOAH staff will use the feedback to guide improvement of the regional website.

Dr Ronello Abila, Representative of the WOAH Sub-regional Representation for South East Asia, in closing remarks for the event, underlined the necessity to strengthen the regional network of Focal Points for communication, stressed the importance of working together, and offered that WOAH can be a platform for resources through its regional website. Dr Abila ended by saying that through these methods, WOAH can provide inspiration for Members and support in areas such as risk communication.

ASF awareness video produced by the Bureau of Animal Industry, Philippines

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