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Between 3 and 6 November 1998 a Seminar on epidemiological surveillance of animal diseases in Africa took place in Dakar (Senegal), organised by the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) and the Government of the Republic of Senegal, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Cooperation) of the French Republic.

This Seminar fell within the framework of actions to boost collaboration with the national Veterinary Services, and of training in epidemiological surveillance methods recommended by the second strategic planning group of the OIE. It brought together veterinary practitioners responsible for the surveillance of animal diseases in Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal and Togo.

The Seminar was organised by specialists from the Central Bureau of the OIE, the French National Centre for Veterinary and Food Research (CNEVA) in Maisons-Alfort (France), the International Cooperation Centre for Agronomic Research and Development - Department of Tropical Livestock and Veterinary Medicine (CIRAD-EMVT) in Montpellier (France), the Experimental Research Institute on Animal Diseases of the Abruzzo and Molise 'G. Caporale' in Teramo (Italy), the Laboratory for Veterinary and Zootechnical Research in Farcha (Chad), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organisation for African Unity / Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign (OAU-PARC).

The Seminar programme included theoretical presentations and practical sessions. The main subjects tackled were:

  • the general concepts, the international context and guidelines for epidemiological surveillance;
  • the justification, constraints and strategies for epidemiological surveillance systems in east and central Africa;
  • the resources required for setting up an epidemiological surveillance system;
  • the system for the declaration of animal diseases to the OIE;
  • the interest and practical aspects of using the Internet and the World Wide Web for Veterinary Services.

At the end of the Seminar several recommendations were adopted with a view to improving the methods of collecting and processing animal health information, and reinforcing epizootic disease surveillance services in the region, particularly diseases that are highly prejudicial to livestock production in Africa, such as rinderpest, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and African swine fever.

All of these recommendations should help to strengthen regional cooperation in French-speaking Africa, and lead to setting up a genuine regional surveillance network for livestock diseases. The existence and reliability of such a network is today one of the main prerequisites for the countries in the region to equip themselves with the methodological tools required for recognition by the OIE as being free from rinderpest.

Contact : Maria Zampaglione

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