UMWG on FMD

12th Meeting of the Upper Mekong Working Group on FMD Zoning and Animal Movement Management

The 12th Meeting of the Upper Mekong Working Group on Foot and Mouth Disease Zoning and Animal Movement Management (UMWG) was organized by the World Organisation for Animal Health Sub-Regional Representation for South-East Asia (OIE SRR-SEA) in cooperation with the Department of Animal Health (DAH) of Vietnam, in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam. Twenty-four participants attended the meeting (17 male and 7 female), including representatives from the veterinary services of the People’s Republic of China, the Union of Myanmar, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as partners from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO-RAP), and the OIE Regional Representation (OIE-RRAP) in Tokyo, Japan. The meeting was also attended by additional observers from the DAH, OIE Special Advisor Dr Gardner Murray, and Dr Stephane Forman of the World Bank Group.

The 12th UMWG meeting provided a forum for Member Countries and partners to share experiences and information on the current status of FMD, and provide updates on past and ongoing initiatives for prevention and control efforts in the region. In particular, participants provided updates on FMD control activities in the Upper Mekong Zone (UMZ), with inputs from OIE-RR and FAO-RAP on activities in the region. Technical presentations reviewed the importance of animal movement management and monitoring of vaccination programmes, and highlighted the ways in which participatory epidemiology (PE) can be used to support these endeavours. Plenary discussions focused on the progress made on recommendations from previous meetings, and refined future recommendations for priority actions for SEACFMD and Member Countries over the coming year.

Facilitated workshops were conducted on the first and second days, commencing with discussions of potential applications of PE to improve FMD control in the region. Members outlined current practices for animal movement management and vaccination and post-vaccination monitoring, and recorded country-specific benchmarks. These workshops in turn provided opportunity for participants to propose and develop regionally-relevant strategies to improve FMD investigations, movement management and vaccination monitoring in the UMZ. A fieldtrip conducted on the third day provided participants the opportunity to view the facilities and management procedures for cross-border animal movement at the Huu Nghi International Border Gate in Lang Son, Vietnam.

Overall, the 12th UMWG meeting provided opportunities for participants to share information, interact, network, plan together, deliberate, and find complementarities where FMD plans and activities are concerned. Key recommendations included agreement to develop cross-border animal movement guidelines and conduct pilot PE outbreak investigation studies with a view to develop regional PE guidelines. The enthusiastic discussion, tangible outputs and positive event evaluation feedback demonstrated the value of the meeting in highlighting the way forward for FMD control in the UMZ.