World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


FAO’s Asia-Pacific Emergency Centre For Transboundary Animal Diseases: 5 Year Plan For Next Wave Of Zoonotic Diseases

14/05/2021 Bangkok, Thailand – As the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic continues to claim lives, ruin the health and livelihoods of millions across the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in South Asia at present, a team of veterinary scientists, epidemiologists, sociologists and other One Health experts is beginning a two week session to map out a five year plan on how to predict, prevent and – if necessary – combat the next animal-to-human potential pandemic.

The multi-disciplinary team at FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) is convening a series of meetings, beginning today, to plan out the next five years of its programme in Asia and the Pacific. ECTAD is FAO’s corporate centre for planning and delivery of veterinary assistance to its member countries responding to the threat of animal health crises. This is the 15th Annual ECTAD Regional Meeting, and this year – with COVID-19 still spreading – it has attracted some 80 specialists from countries worldwide.

Transboundary animal diseases are still the primary source of most infectious diseases and pandemics afflicting humans. Transboundary animal diseases (TADs) have negative impacts on food safety, the economy, and the environment of countries.

“With about 75 percent of diseases affecting humans having animal origins, addressing Transboundary Animal Disease (TADs) is evidently an imperative, as we have seen with outbreaks such as COVID-19, Ebola and many others,” said Kachen Wongsathapornchai, FAO Senior Animal Health Officer and ECTAD Regional Manager.

Twenty-five years of knowledge in zoonotic diseases

In 2003, something generically referred to as ‘Bird Flu’ made headlines around the world. Avian Influenza H5N1 was a wake-up call to human and veterinary healthcare workers worldwide.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) responded by opening its first ECTAD regional office in Bangkok. Since then, it has worked with country teams in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal and Viet Nam. The technical work is also backstopped by experts at FAO headquarters in Rome and partnerships globally with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO), among others.

Strengthening animal laboratories prepared Asia for pandemic

FAO is a recognized centre for excellence for its efforts on addressing zoonotic diseases such as Ebola virus disease, MERS-CoV and avian influenza. Resource partners, government counterparts and other partners have been working with FAO on strengthening laboratories across the Asia-Pacific region.

Since the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 outbreaks in 2003, FAO has been working with countries to strengthen their capacities. This proved to be instrumental in the pandemic as animal diagnostic laboratories supported public health efforts in the testing of COVID-19 human samples.

FAO through its ECTAD Programme has also built capacities at all levels for better information sharing and coordination of animal health programmes including addressing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the region

A “One Health” approach to addressing TAD

FAO envisages One Health as a collaborative global approach to understanding risks for human and animal health. This includes strengthening monitoring, surveillance, reporting and response tools to addressing risk factors leading to disease spill-overs from wildlife to domestic animals and humans. This holistic approach emphasizes the need to also seriously consider socio-economic and cultural factors to enable better disease prevention and control.

Related links:

Follow us on Twitter @FAOAsiaPacific

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN News: Landmark G7 Agreement Pledges 870 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses, Half By End-2021

A senior UN official welcomed on Sunday, the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations’ commitment to immediately share at least 870 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, supporting global access and helping to end the acute phase of the pandemic... More>>

OECD: G20 GDP Returns To Pre-pandemic Level In The First Quarter Of 2021, But With Large Differences Across Countries

Gross domestic product (GDP) of the G20 area returned to pre-pandemic level in the first quarter of 2021, growing by 0.8% compared with the fourth quarter of 2020. However, this figure conceals large differences across countries... More>>

Myanmar: ‘Mass Deaths’ Alert As 100,000 Flee Junta’s Heavy Weapons

In Myanmar, international action is needed urgently to prevent “mass deaths” there, after civilians fled attacks by so-called “junta bombs”, a top independent UN rights expert has warned... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Tackling Biodiversity & Climate Crises Together And Their Combined Social Impacts

Unprecedented changes in climate and biodiversity, driven by human activities, have combined and increasingly threaten nature, human lives, livelihoods and well-being around the world... More>>

G7: No Major G7 Stock Index Aligned With Paris Climate Goals

New research by CDP and the United Nations Global Compact on behalf of the Science Based Targets initiative calls on the largest G7 companies to take ambitious climate action... More>>

Report: Universal Access To Sustainable Energy Will Remain Elusive Without Addressing Inequalities

During the last decade, a greater share of the global population gained access to electricity than ever before, but the number of people without electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa actually increased... More>>