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The OIE will open a second Sub-Regional Representation for Africa in Tunisia

Paris, 21 May 2009 - The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) launches a new Sub-Regional Representation for Africa based in Tunis, Tunisia.

“The global compliance of veterinary services with international standards of quality is in motion and this new sub-regional office for Africa will open another door towards the prevention and control of animal diseases on the African continent,” OIE Director General, Dr Bernard Vallat said.

During her visit at OIE Headquarters in Paris, the Italian Sub secretary of State for Work, Public Health and Social Policies, the Honourable Francesca Martini, stressed Italy’s commitment to support OIE’s activities in the Region. The sub-regional representation as well as animal health programs for the Mediterranean region will be supported by a grant contribution of 3 million Euros from Italy as well as by further grants and technical assistance provided by the European Union and France, along with in kind contribution from the Government of Tunisia.

This second sub-regional office linked with the OIE Regional Representation for Africa - located in Bamako, Mali - will focus its activities on the Maghreb Countries, while the Gaborone, Botswana sub-regional representation works on the southern part of the continent.

Improving veterinary services quality, building capacity and harmonisation of disease control methods

The sub-regional representation will be responsible for improving the quality of national veterinary services. It will look into harmonizing methods used to prevent and control diseases and the public-private animal health delivery services established in the region. The new representation will also be part of a Regional Animal Health Centre to be established in collaboration with the FAO in the framework of the OIE/FAO GF-TAD’s programme (Global Framework of the progressive control of transboundary diseases).

On capacity building, it will be responsible for training national senior officers responsible for animal health, including OIE Delegates, OIE national focal points on animal welfare, animal production food safety, animal health information (WAHIS) veterinary products, aquatic animals and wildlife as well as representatives from the private sector, notably by financing and organizing courses or seminars. It will focus on compliance with rights and obligations of OIE Members and on the support to veterinary laboratories in the sub-region using in particular the OIE twinning concept between OIE existing Reference Laboratories all over the world and candidates from laboratories of the sub-region.

“Regional and sub-regional offices based in key locations - such as the Maghreb and the Mediterranean region - support the OIE in a drive to spin a global web of animal health systems able to fight emerging or re emerging diseases, including zoonoses everywhere” explained Dr Bernard Vallat.

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