Karen, Kenya

OIE WAHIS training for Animal Disease Notification Focal Points (2013) Africa


The Comoros focal point, Dr Saada Rassoul getting help from a colleague during the practical sessions. Picture © Paula Caceres (oie) 2013


The new (second) version of the OIE’s World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) and corresponding Database (WAHID), launched in August 2012 was on the main menu at the regional training seminar for OIE focal points for the notification of animal diseases, held at the Multi-Media University (MMU) College in the suburb of Karen, named after Out of Africa author, Karen Blixen, west of Nairobi, in Kenya.

A record number of 48 countries took part in the three-day course, i.e. Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Dem. Rep.), Congo (Rep.), Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. In addition, non-Members Liberia and South Sudan were also in attendance and so were representatives from the African Union (Inter-african Bureau for Animal Resources) with whom the OIE is working closely to achieve inter-operability between WAHIS II and the African Animal Resource Information System (ARIS II). From the 8 invited Regional Economic Communities, only the West African Monetary and Economic Union (WAEMU) was able to attend the training course.

The opening ceremony on Tuesday morning was graced with the presence of the Kenya Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Peter Ithondeka, along with the OIE Representative, Dr Walter Masiga.

The training course was designed around perfectly synchronized plenary sessions in two languages (French and English) with simultaneous interpretation, as well as practical computer training in two IT labs of the MMU College, one for English speaking participants and one for French speaking participants. The OIE’s Animal Health Information Department in Paris dispatched no less than 4 trainers to deliver the course, under the capable guidance of Dr. Manuel Sanchez, Deputy Head of Department. The other trainers were Drs Lina Awada, Paula Cacéres and Simona Forcella. The training covered of course the new features of the second version of WAHIS (mainly in respect of wildlife reporting) as well as recaps on the immediate notifications and follow-up reports, monthly and six-monthly reports and the annual reports, for terrestrial and aquatic animal diseases.

Although participants were hosted in simple student accommodation, the practical sessions in the high-tech computer-labs were much appreciated. The social programme included a game drive in Nairobi National Park and a cultural show and dinner at Bomas of Kenya.

All pictures (c) P. Bastiaensen and P. Caceres (oie) 2013

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