Animal health experts train to improve livestock health and production in the Pacific

Nadi

Dr. Sripad Sosale from the Pacific Community taking a blood sample during animal disease surveillance training in Samoa

Nadi, Fiji – Over 42 health experts from 17 countries gathered in Nadi, Fiji, this week to train on improving animal and livestock health in the Pacific.

The Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Pathway Orientation Training Workshop brought the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) experts together with country representatives to evaluate veterinary services during the gathering organised by the Pacific Community (SPC) and WOAH. The participants included 32 country representatives, 6 WOAH PVS experts, staff and 4 observers.

The lack of qualified veterinarians, veterinary paraprofessionals and diagnostic services has been a long-standing challenge impacting the Pacific's animal health and livestock sector. Veterinarians and vet paraprofessionals protect livestock health and production, monitor animal disease risks, and safeguard the region from emerging threats.

SPC’s Land Resources Division (LRD) Director Karen Mapusua said the training was timely, as it helped to maintain the momentum from the recent Pacific Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services (HOAFS) and Pacific Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry Services (MOAFS) meetings held earlier on 9 – 10 March.

"This event supports the implementation of the Pacific Animal Health and Production Framework and the Pacific Animal Health and Production Capacity Development Plan endorsed by the HOAFS and MOAFS. It articulates regional priorities in addressing animal health and product development needs in Pacific countries and territories," said Ms Mapusua during the opening event.

The newly endorsed plan highlights critical issues, including availability and access to veterinary services across the Pacific.

"This framework and the plan acknowledge and recommends the PVS Pathway as an important tool that empowers national veterinary services by providing them with a comprehensive understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. It is our understanding that WOAH's PVS Pathway has helped countries worldwide to improve veterinary services and delivery of animal health initiatives," said Ms Mapusua.

The PVS Pathway, developed by WOAH, is a worldwide capacity-building platform that empowers national veterinary services to improve animal health and welfare.

"The PVS Pathway is a powerful programme starting from an evaluation of the current status of veterinary services, which can lead member countries to strengthen their capacities and improve their competencies," said WOAH Regional Representative Dr Hirofumi Kugita during her opening address.

"This enables countries to take ownership and prioritise improvements to their animal health system."

Participants provided reflections and country updates on their animal health status and context during the training. The PVS Pathway includes four stages:  orientation, evaluation, planning, and targeted support for member countries that will help lead to better animal health outcomes for the Pacific.

"WOAH and SPC have been working closely together to better understand the animal health and production activities in the region and how we can work together, and with SPC member countries, to improve them. This workshop is one of the fruits of this valued collaboration and I look forward to continued and deepened partnership to the benefit of our region," said Ms Mapusua.

Ms Mapusua also acknowledged partners that are supporting work on strengthening animal health in the region, including the Australian Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, WOAH, New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, and the European Union.

For more information contact:

Dr Sripad Sosale, Animal Health and Production Adviser, the Pacific Community (SPC), Land Resources Division (LRD) | [email protected]

Dr Elenoa Salele, Animal Health and Production Officer, the Pacific Community (SPC), Land Resources Division (LRD) | [email protected]

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