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6th Conference of the Regional Commission of the Office International des Epizooties for the Middle East - Under the patronage of H.E. Dr Ali Abdallah, Minister of Agriculture

Meeting of Heads of Animal Health Services of the Middle East

The 6th Conference of the Regional Commission of the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) for the Middle East was held in Jounieh (Lebanon) from 24 to 27 September 2001.

This Conference, to which all the Heads of Veterinary Services in the region were invited, drew up a comprehensive report on the animal health status and discussed the problems associated with restructuring of Veterinary Services, public and animal health importance of tick-transmitted diseases of animals in the Middle East, use of Arabic within OIE activities and setting up of a Regional Emergency Veterinary Committee for the Middle East.

  • The main diseases affecting animals in the region since the beginning of 2001, acting as a barrier to international trade with the Middle East, were listed by the Conference. The list is available on the OIE Web site.
  • The two technical items discussed during the Conference related to:
  • Restructuring of Veterinary Services through consolidation of private veterinary practice and introduction of new approaches for integration of target groups in the Middle East. In most countries of the world, public veterinary services constitute the central body that deals with all activities concerning animal health care and disease control. Nevertheless, the world trend is towards a reduced role for the State as a direct service provider to producers, with the result that new models for service delivery are in strong demand by livestock herder communities. However, prior to embarking in the restructuring process, public veterinary services should undertake certain steps, such as giving a larger role to Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) in the provision of veterinary services, especially in remote areas where conventional veterinary services are lacking. The participants at the Conference thus agreed on the need to restructure, redesign and modify their policies to accommodate private veterinary services to assist the official Veterinary Services, in particular in relation to disease surveillance, and if necessary the concept of CAHWs with the objective of strengthening veterinary services.
  • Public and animal health importance of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and other tick-transmitted diseases of animals in the Middle East. Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a disease of a wide variety of animals and humans and the geographical distribution of the causative virus, like that of its tick vector, is widespread. Tick-transmitted diseases are endemic in many countries in the Middle East region as well as world-wide, becoming increasingly important for public and animal health in recent years, and thus having adverse effects on livestock production and trade in animals and animal products. The participants, therefore, concurred that a regional network for the surveillance of tick-transmitted diseases should be established and that regional co-operation in the field of research on tick-transmitted diseases should be enhanced.
  • The Conference recommended that the use of Arabic within OIE activities be supported by requesting the relevant Member Countries to provide funds annually to a special account that has been opened at the OIE Central Bureau for this purpose.
  • The Conference confirmed the establishment and operation rules of a Regional Veterinary Committee, which would be responsible, in the case of an emergency linked to the occurrence of a serious animal disease in the region, for proposing to the governments of the countries concerned the necessary measures for combating the disease.
  • A Regional Representation of the OIE for the Middle East was established in Beirut (Lebanon) at the end of 1999, which will greatly facilitate the application of the Beirut Conference recommendations. The activities of this Representation are coordinated by Dr Ghazi Yehia and programmed in close liaison with the Regional Commission of the OIE for the Middle East, chaired by Dr S. Sultan Al-Khalaf (Kuwait).

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