The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), hosted the Risk Assessment Workshop, as part of the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) funded project, Improving Delivery of Animal Health Services and Disease Surveillance in Iraq. The workshop aimed at strengthening the capacity of the veterinary services to identify hazards, manage, communicate and monitor risks.
Twenty six specialists from the veterinary services in Baghdad, Erbil, Duhok, Nineveh, Anbar, Wasit, Muthanna and Basra participated to the training. The opening session was attended by the FAO Representative in Iraq, the Technical Undersecretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture as well as the Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Iraq.
The FAO Representative, Dr. Salah Al-Hajj Hassan stressed the organization's commitment to adopting modern concepts and values in the "One Health" approach to confront health threats to animals, humans, plants and the environment. "By developing knowledge and foresight on emerging threats to health and their consequences, as well as on resilience to disease and health improvement, the adoption of this holistic approach will help achieving sustainable agricultural production and global health" and will enable coordinated efforts from Government, FAO- and WHO to overcome the serious challenge, he said.
The Technical Undersecretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Mithaq Abdul-Hussein, in his speech focused on the concept of one health, the recent spread of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever in Iraq and the way to deal with it, as well as climatic changes and their impact on the emergence of animal diseases.
WHO Representative, Dr. Ahmed Zouiten, underlined the importance and the role of the veterinarian services in Iraq in addressing CCHF and all other transmissible zoonotic diseases; he added the valuable contribution of FAO work to strengthen and update information among specialists and supervisors of animal health services in Iraq and underlined the importance of intensifying coordination and joint action to control such diseases, as well as flagging the need for closer coordination in the efforts for controlling human and animal diseases .
During the workshop, Dr. Ghazi Yahya, representative of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in the Middle East, discussed the "WTO SPS Agreement", with emphasis on the OIE Roles, in ensuring the safe trade of animals and animals "products" while Dr. Yamen Hegazy, FAO Regional expert, provided an introduction to Risk Analysis. Dr. Shaheen Bayoumi, FAO-EUFMD expert in cooperation with Dr. Rehab Elbassal, FAO Regional expert led the session on "Animal Health Hazards Identification for the Trade of Animals and Animal Products".
The four days' workshop is timely needed and will enable veterinary services to scale up capacities and train Iraqi vets in the field.