Experts meet to discuss on animal diseases in the Asia-Pacific region

23-26 September, Thimphu: Experts from fourteen out of the eighteen member countries of the Animal Production and Health Commission for Asia-Pacific (APHCA) met to discuss on the impact and intervention of zoonosis, food borne disease and anti-microbial resistance (AMR) in the Asia-Pacific region. This was the 37th session of APHCA meeting.

APHCA based at Thailand provides the platform for the members countries to share technical information on animal health services and coordinate the joint action of collaboration to tackle the same. It also help to liaison with the recruited international organisations such as Animal Health Organisation, World Health Organisation and Food and Agriculture Organisation that helps to enhance food production and alleviates animal health issues.

The meeting was inaugurated  by the Hon’ble Lyonpo, Yeshey Dorji, the Minister for Agriculture and Forests. Also present were the Hon’ble Secretary, Dasho Sherub Gyaltshen along with the senior officials from the Ministry.

Addressing the meeting, Lyonpo informed that the Asia-Pacific region is one of the major producers of global livestock products. He stressed on the need to come up with proper preventative measures for tackling the possible emergence of new pathogens and AMR. He also expressed his appreciation to APHCA for strengthening collaboration among member countries through livestock policy and Asian dairy networking, and national feed assessment system.

During the meeting, various presentation were presented to update the delegates on the APHCA activities performed between October 2012 to September 2013 such as on account expenses, small holder dairy, animal health, AMA management actions along with the reports on impact and control of zoonosis, food-borne diseases and AMR by member countries. This was followed by a discussion on how to tackle the issues and the required measures for the same.

Besides, the delegates also agreed on APHCA work plan for 2014 which includes smallholder dairy development, zoonosis and food safety; livestock policy capacity, information dissemination and APHCA positioning; feed resource  and AMR management. Budget and scale of contributions for member countries  were also agreed as proposed. They also approved the Secretariat of the Pacific Community as a new APHCA member and agreed to accept the applications from other APHCA countries. They also appointed Dr. Tashi Dorji, the Offtg. Director for Department of Livestock as a new Chairman for APHCA. Further, as a part of the program, the delegates visited Druk Wangyal Chorten in Dochula, Kuenselphodrang, Buddha Point and Trashi Chho Dzong.

According to Mr. Naiten Wangchuk, the Chief Livestock Officer, rabies, avian flu, anthrax and tuberculosis are the main issues for food-borne diseases and zoonosis in the country. He added that APHCA has significantly supported Bhutan in terms of brucellosis, feed assessment, lab facilities, human capacity and AMR standards. He further added that the technical support on the institutional lab and feed and fodder would be sought from APHCA in the future.

The next APHCA meeting would be held in Chiangmai, Thailand sometime in the first week of November while Malaysia would host the APCHA meeting for 2015.

In addition, the 74th executive committee meeting for APHCA, consisting the members from Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Australia, Myanmar, Samoa and Philippines were also held on 22 September 2013.

Reported By Tshering Doma, ICS

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