OIE launches training for Focal Points on Laboratory

The OIE launched a global training programme for OIE Delegates and National Focal Points for Veterinary Laboratories at a workshop for the ASEAN plus 3 countries held in Pakchong, Thailand from 20-23 August. Except from Lao PDR and Singapore, 11 focal points or their proxies attended the seminar.

The programme will allow the opportunity, among other aspects, to share good governance concepts with OIE Members, to explain and clarify the role and responsibilities of the OIE Focal Points nominated by the OIE Delegate, and to facilitate consistency and harmonisation amongst OIE Members when assigning duties to these officials.

The pilot seminar introduced OIE National Focal Points on Laboratories to their duties as set out in the terms of reference. Presentations and discussions covered important topics including overview of the OIE and the vademecum; the terms of reference and duties of OIE Delegates and focal points, and more specifically the terms of reference of the OIE National Focal Point on Laboratories including networking, assessing capacity building needs, and preparing comments for the Delegate on revisions of OIE Standards.

To address the need to network within laboratories in the country, the organisational structure for laboratory services within the region were discussed, along with the advantages and disadvantages to networking for each structure. To address the mechanisms to prepare comments for the Delegate on revisions of OIE Standards, key issues emerging from these conversations included: 1) the need for timely coordination with country experts and 2) the need to inform and motivate countries about the importance of contributing to OIE Standards to make them more universally relevant.  The workshop concluded with a field trip to the OIE Reference Laboratory for FMD – Regional Reference Laboratory, Pakchong, Thailand. Key challenges that were raised by Focal Points, when considering how to effectively fulfil the role as outlined in the TORs, included OIE Delegates’ busy schedules and competing priorities leading to potential delays in passing comments on to Focal Points; concern about lack of national ‘expertise’ for certain chapters. Despite these challenges, participants stressed the utility they saw for the OIE National Focal Points on Laboratories and commended OIE on implementing the pilot.