Dear AFSCAN colleagues,
I am honored to introduce the fifth AFSCAN newsletter. We hope it will update you on the significant progress we have made this year, in collaboration with our colleagues in Africa.
At the time I was invited to join AFSCAN, I had just become a member of the WSAVA One Health Committee and was also a member of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). My involvement with the WSAVA was the first step in a growing partnership between both organizations.
We are all bound by the One Health concept. The OIE, as the international standard setting organization for animal health and animal welfare, is responsible for dealing with zoonosis and providing recommendations as to how to prevent human infections. It is clear to me that it is the small animal practitioner who is best positioned, not only to address zoonotic diseases such as rabies, but also, who is likely to be the first to detect an emerging disease affecting companion animals. It is thanks to the partnership between with OIE and the WSAVA that small animal practitioners have now joined other veterinary professionals, who have historically been more familiar with the work of the OIE. It is a very positive development!
As you’ll read in the newsletter, AFSCAN is fostering new partnerships in the spirit of One Health. It is, for instance, supporting the development of several Small Animal Practitioners Associations in Africa, using canine rabies vaccination campaigns as models. The OIE is reinforcing these efforts by involving Chief Veterinary Officers from the countries concerned to create strong private-public partnerships to help in the fight against canine rabies. After all, what better One Health victory could there be than to jointly eradicate canine rabies throughout Africa? It is good to see how the Uganda Small Animal Practitioner’s Association continues to grow in membership and to participate actively in AFSCAN activities. They are an example to other African associations.
The newsletter also contains an update on the first recipients of the AFSCAN Research and Studentship Awards. Two academics - one from Nigeria and one from Tanzania - have received research awards funding very relevant research projects. We have also awarded the first Studentship Award. A Tanzanian veterinary undergraduate has been selected to participate in a research project related to animal health and welfare in Africa. We look forward to hearing about their results of their projects in due course.
The newsletter also highlights the meeting held at the OIE in May, during its 84th General Assembly in Paris. This year’s meeting was notable for the important contribution made by the representatives from Kenya and Uganda on their approach to One Health challenges in their countries. We are hopeful that through meetings such as these and our other work, we will mobilize other private and public veterinarians to work together in promoting animal and public health.
Dr. Alejandro Thiermann
Member of AFSCAN Project Board
President, Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)