Drs G. Zaire of Namibia, S. Acha of Mozambique and M. Sacchia of Italy. Picture (c) OIE (2016).
Zimbabwe was host to a closing workshop for an OIE Laboratory Twinning project on brucellosis between the Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL) of Zimbabwe and the Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise “G. Caporale” (IZS) based in Teramo, in Italy. The workshop was attended by the heads of laboratories in the SADC region, IZSAM experts and representatives from international organisations, including the OIE.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Mr R. J. Chitsiko, highlighted the importance of a good quality laboratory and its personnel in the diagnoses of diseases, with special reference to brucellosis, which is a zoonosis. He lauded the OIE twinning project between IZS and CVL as it will result in the improvement of the diagnostic capability of the CVL, making it better prepared to tackle the problem of brucellosis in Zimbabwe.
The main goal of the OIE twinning project was to facilitate the transfer of technical and professional expertise from the OIE International Reference Laboratory for brucellosis diagnosis and control (IZS) to the CVL of Zimbabwe. The latter will have the opportunity to upgrade and improve its diagnostic and research capacities in both animal and human brucellosis. The Project was undertaken under the broader framework of strengthening laboratory-based brucellosis surveillance systems and regional strategies for its eradication from the SADC region. The framework is aimed at building a SADC brucellosis network to assist member countries in upgrading their laboratory diagnostic and surveillance capacities and develop strategies to eradicate the disease in their respective countries. Following this successful twinning project, the CVL of Zimbabwe has a vision of becoming an OIE Reference Laboratory for brucellosis, based in the SADC region. As a Reference Laboratory, the CVL would be able to provide regional laboratory diagnostics and research support as well as coordinating inter-laboratory and proficiency schemes for brucellosis to improve capacities of member countries. In addition, this will facilitate the upgrading of diagnostic and surveillance systems of national laboratories to meet OIE standards. It is with this in mind that Zimbabwe used the closing workshop to garner support for its CVL to become an OIE Brucellosis Reference Centre.
Participants were treated to several presentations covering the brucellosis situation in Zimbabwe – both from the animals and the human fronts and potential areas of collaboration under the One Health framework, OIE twinning in general, with special reference to the SADC region and activities of the OIE Reference Laboratories and the importance of eventually hosting a brucellosis Reference Laboratory in the SADC region.
A representative from the Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory (BNVL) shared experiences in transforming their facility from a modest and basic laboratory to an OIE Reference Laboratory for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), using laboratory twinning with IZS as the vehicle for transformation.
During the closing session both CVL and IZS joined hands and pleaded with attending heads of laboratories to support Zimbabwe’s CVL in working towards attaining OIE Reference Laboratory status for brucellosis.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and the Italian Ambassador (both at centre) posing for a photo with workshop participants. Picture (c) OIE (2016).
Participants listening to a presentation. Picture (c) OIE (2016).