The Seventh Asia-Pacific Workshop on Multisectoral Collaboration on the Prevention and Control of Zoonoses

The Seventh Asia-Pacific Workshop on Multisectoral Collaboration for the Prevention and Control of Zoonoses was organized under a Tripartite coordination mechanism at the Conference Hall of the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WPRO) in Manila, Philippines from 19 to 21 September 2017. The main objectives of the meeting were to share epidemiological and scientific information regarding the highly pathogenic avian Influenza including the  highly pathogenic serotype H7N9 which  emerged in 2017 and to discuss control measures including enhancement of laboratory capacity and vaccination policy.

A total of 86 participants attended the workshop, including 45 participants from public health and animal health sectors of 23 Member Countries and territories in Asia-Pacific Region, temporary advisers, observers and participants from FAO, OIE and WHO as the secretariat.

The opening session welcome and opening remarks were delivered by Dr Vivian Lin, Director of Health Systems, WPRO, Dr Roderico Ofrin, Regional Emergency Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia (SEARO), Dr Kantika deBalogh, Senior animal production and health Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (FAO RAP), and Dr Hirofumi Kugita, Regional Representative, OIE Representation for Asia and the Pacific (OIE RRAP). The remarks emphasized the challenges of zoonoses which required multisectoral and multidisciplinary approach in prevention and control using the One Health concept, and expressed the Tripartite’s commitment to work together to support Member Countries in reducing risk and threat of especially zoonotic influenza, rabies and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). All aimed at attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Day one reviewed the Tripartite’s progress and the new tools and frameworks for multisectoral collaboration. FAO, OIE and WHO representatives presented on various Tripartite relevant activities in strengthening capacities of Member Countries in surveillance, prevention and control of zoonoses and AMR conducted as a follow up on the recommendations of the 6th Workshop held in Sapporo, Japan in 2015. The presentations demonstrated significant progress that have been made since the first Zoonoses meeting in Sapporo, Japan in 2010.

A session on ‘New tools and Frameworks for multisectoral collaboration’ covered presentations on the Asia-Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases and Public Health Emergencies (APSED III) and the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) Joint External Evaluation (JEE). A Tripartite zoonoses guide toolkit, an expansion of the 2008 Tripartite Zoonoses Guide (Zoonotic Diseases: A Guide to Establishing Collaboration between Animal and Human Health Sectors at the Country Level) which is currently under development was introduced. The tool is aimed at enhancing the One Health approach implementation in the countries and can be used by Member Countries; WHO, OIE, and FAO separately or together within Tripartite projects; or by other partners technically supporting countries.

The outcomes from the OIE PVS Pathway Think Tank Forum workshop held at OIE HQ earlier this year was summed up under four general recommendations: (1) enhance PVS Pathway engagement options i.e. PVS self-evaluation, PVS specific content (OIE members); (2) make the most of PVS Pathway to support the OIE mandate (OIE staff); (3) provide more technical support and training (PVS experts); and (4) increase PVS profile for more advocacy and resourcing (OIE partners). These recommendations will direct OIE to define the way forward, to better support the strengthening of veterinary services. The National IHR-PVS Bridging Workshop objectives and process was also presented followed by a presentation on the experiences and outcomes of Indonesia’s National IHR-PVS Bridging Workshop exercise held in August 2017 presented by an Indonesian participant.

Day two focused on priority actions or initiatives for prevention and control of avian influenza, rabies and AMR. Updates were shared on avian influenza situation across the Asia-Pacific Region and emergence of zoonotic influenza in human in the Asia-Pacific Region particularly H7N9, which showed some genetic evolution from low pathogenicity to high pathogenicity in poultry. Bangladesh, China, Myanmar and Philippines participants shared their country experience on surveillance and risk assessment of zoonotic influenza in human and animal health sectors including the successes and challenges of joint risk assessments. The global plan for dog-mediated human rabies elimination by 2030 and the Tripartite’s initiative for rabies elimination in Asia were presented including the stepwise approach towards rabies elimination (SARE).  Participants from Bhutan, Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia shared their country experience in rabies control in a facilitated panel discussion.

The global and regional situation on AMR was updated, showing increased threat of AMR on public health and elaborating the global response to tackle AMR including global action plan. The tools such as Global AMR Surveillance System (GLASS), the FAO Assessment Tool for Laboratory and Antimicrobial Resistance (ATLASS) and Tripartite AMR country self-assessments which are available to help Member Countries in addressing AMR were highlighted. World Antibiotic Awareness Week to be observed from 13-17 November 2017 was highlighted aimed to be used as platform to increase awareness of AMR and the prudent use of antimicrobial agents. Participants from Australia, Cambodia, India and Nepal shared their country experience in addressing AMR in a panel discussion.

Facilitated group exercises comprising of five groups to discuss on ‘Improving the Function of Coordination mechanisms’ was conducted focusing on the successes and limitations of existing multisectoral coordination mechanisms in the countries and how the Tripartite can best assist to improve these mechanisms and what the future direction of Tripartite workshop would be. A set of recommendations were drawn up from the group exercises.


The Posters gallery session was also facilitated where posters from 21 countries were displayed providing country information on zoonoses situation, progress and updates on AMR and national multisectoral coordination mechanisms. Temporary advisers and partners presented on the recent researches or initiatives related to zoonoses – such as Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS), activities on rabies control by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), the activities of Research Centre for Zoonosis Control of Hokkaido University (OIE reference laboratory for Avian Influenza and WHO Collaborating Centre for Zoonoses), and the activities of US CDC on Field Epidemiology Training Programme for Public Health (FETP) for developing synergies among  animal and human health sectors.

The workshop came up with a set of conclusions and recommendations for future direction.