|A review of the status of animal health laboratory capacity in the Pacific|
|Tuesday, 08 February 2011 13:09|
One of the main objectives of the Pacific Regional Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Project (PRIPPP) is to strengthen the diagnostic capacity of the animal health sector in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to address the increasing need for early diagnosis of animal diseases. The laboratory assessment survey conducted between 2007 and 2008 provided good baseline information on the level of the existing diagnostic capacity in the region. The survey was also designed to identify the needs of each PICT in order to establish a sustainable animal disease diagnostic capability in-country. The results of that survey were used to develop the strategy for strengthening animal disease diagnostic capacity in PICTs, and PRIPPP animal health laboratory capacity-building activities were also based on it.
In 2009, PRIPPP established the Pacific Animal Health Laboratory Network (PAHLNet). The network’s initial function is to provide a mailing list for information sharing and online discussion among national and regional reference animal health laboratories. It later evolved into a network of country focal persons, laboratory technicians and experts, working together for the early detection and control of infectious animal diseases. Included in PAHLNet’s goals is the promotion of the One World One Health approach through closer collaboration among animal and human health laboratories in the Pacific region.
After three years of implementing laboratory capacity-building activities, PRIPPP, through the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Animal Health and Production team, is now at the stage of reviewing the sustainability of PAHLNet, and the status of the animal health (AH) laboratory capacity in the region. Relevant information will be collected and analysed to determine a way forward for AH laboratory capacity-building and networking in the Pacific. Information will be collected using two surveys: a PAHLNet survey and a status survey of animal health laboratory capacity in SPC member countries. The aim is to involve all 22 SPC member countries in both surveys. The target respondents are AH laboratory focal persons in PICTs, PAHLNet mailing list members, Pacific Heads of Veterinary and Animal Production Services (PHOVAPS) members, representatives from reference and referral laboratories, and representatives of other organisations involved with AH laboratory activities in the region. Participating in this survey is an opportunity for stakeholders to provide inputs for PRIPPP end-of-project reporting and forward planning for AH laboratory capacity-building in the region.
The PAHLNet survey will involve all organisations that participate in animal health laboratory capacity-building activities in the region.It is designed to assess the effectiveness of PAHLNet and its mailing list in developing regional awareness of animal disease diagnostics and establishing links between national and reference laboratories. In addition to PICT representatives, reference and referral laboratories, together with other organisations contributing to laboratory capacity-building in the Pacific, will be encouraged to respond to this survey. The number and quality of responses will provide an idea of the level of commitment by stakeholders to involve themselves with the activities and sustainability issues of PAHLNet. It is also expected that information collected will determine the overall usefulness of continuing PAHLNet beyond PRIPPP, as a laboratory network and as a means of communication between laboratory experts and country focal persons.
Status survey of animal health laboratory capacity in SPC member countries
The main purpose of this survey is to determine the level of improvement in the capacity to diagnose animal diseases in the region. The information from the 2007 to 2008 laboratory assessment survey will be compared to the information that will be collected in the forthcoming survey. The response from each PICT will be used to develop recommendations and draft a 2011–2015 sustainable animal disease diagnostic capacity development strategy, addressing specific needs of each Pacific Island country and territory.
The information collected will be analysed in conjunction with list server logs for PAHLNet emailing list and one-on-one interviews conducted with selected PICTs representatives in November 2010. Results of the analysis will be used for developing recommendations and future planning for animal health laboratory networking and capacity-building.
The survey will run from 1 February to 24 February, 2011.