Outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in many countries worldwide, including developing countries, rose substantially since December 2004 and developed into a major risk to international trade and public health.
The poultry industry, in particular, is important for developing countries as it has benefits which include enhancing food security, employment opportunities, rural income generation and exports. Hence, the implications for trade once an outbreak of HPAI is reported can be devastating, particularly for those developing countries which remain strongly reliant on food trade as drivers of growth.
The EU adopted measures to tackle the problem of Avian Influenza (AI) and developed guidelines, standards and regulations as well as stepped up monitoring and reporting in the industry. Developing countries and emerging economies on the other hand were still lacking either the resources or know-how to do the same; experts warned that a lack of resources for dealing with outbreaks in developing countries and a lack of international cooperation could prove a weak link in the global fight against AI. For developing countries, participating in the global response presented enormous difficulties due to the lack of an existing and comprehensive food safety infrastructure in veterinary services and public institutions. In particular, the lack of laboratory services capable of surveillance and diagnosis to support AI prevention and control weakened the ability of a swift and accurate response.
The overarching objective of this project was to provide technical training on HPAI for experts from developing countries (and some EU candidate countries). It focused on training experts in state of the art virological and serological methods of diagnosis and other suitable techniques, enabling participants to be in a position to apply the techniques in their home countries. They were also trained in the organisational aspects of setting up and running an accredited laboratory in their home countries.
The main outputs of the project were:
- Two three-day workshops for 30 experts from six beneficiary countries in an EU accredited laboratory (University of Padua, Italy)
- Sustained training and technical assistance missions over a period of six weeks, for each of the 7 countries identified benefitting a total of 447 public sector veterinarians
- A project website and E-learning portal with interactive tools and exercises was established and has received 82,672 hits to date
- Promotion and visibility of EC activities in the field of avian influenza control and prevention
- A total of 477 participants received direct training under the programme, with a further 2,362 unique users accessing the training through the E-learning portal on the project website
The project was implemented by DEVELOPMENT Solutions Europe Ltd (DS) in consortium with Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) in Italy and Central Veterinary Institute Wageningen (CVI) Netherlands. DS, with its vast experience in designing and implementing capacity building workshops and trainings for government and industry in third countries provided high-quality project implementation and managed the logistical aspects of the training workshops. Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) and Central Veterinary Institute Wageningen (CVI) provided extensive experience in their specific research fields. The Consortium partners’ in-depth knowledge and vast experience with the topics at hand ensured the successful completion of the project.