06/21/15 16:10

Recent Activities

5th OIE Sub-Regional Workshop for Veterinary Statutory Bodies (VSBs)

The OIE Sub-Regional Representation for South-East Asia (SRR-SEA) organised the 5th Sub-Regional Workshop for Veterinary Statutory Bodies in Pattaya, Thailand on 9-10 November 2015. The workshop brought together 28 relevant representatives of VSBs (e.g. presidents, registrars, etc.), veterinary associations and veterinary authorities from nine ASEAN Member States (AMS). In addition, there were 10 speakers and participants from ASEAN, Australasia, European Union, North America and OIE.

The workshop objectives were to 1) illustrate the role and current progress of VSBs in the sub-region, 2) exchange approaches for strengthening VSB authority and capacity in compliance with OIE Standards, 3) discuss the establishment of a VSB Network in AMS, and 4) discuss the way towards the recognition of transboundary mobility of veterinarians through a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA).

The workshop began with remarks from Dr. Gardner Murray, OIE Special Advisor, and Dr. Wimolporn, Deputy Director General of the Department of Livestock Development (DLD), Thailand. Dr. Murray referred to the changing landscape of the veterinary profession and reminded participants of the importance of veterinary education and VSBs in ensuring a competent and ethically sound Veterinary Services. Dr. Wimolporn noted that supporting the VSBs will also strengthen Veterinary Services in the sub-region and, thus, promote both animal and public health in the process.

Dr. Ronello Abila, OIE SRR-SEA Representative, presented the OIE standards on VSBs from the Terrestrial Code Chapter 3.2.12 and provided the results from a previous survey related to VSBs in the sub-region. Other OIE SRR-SEA staff presented a comprehensive overview of the state of VSBs in ASEAN, an analysis of findings from 7 PVS Evaluation Reports related to the state of VSBs in SEA from 2006 to 2012, and a thorough overview of the PVS Twinning programme including its objectives and the application process involved.

Dr. Pennapa Matayompong, OIE STRIVES Programme Coordinator, also provided a comprehensive presentation on the VSBs in ASEAN by providing outputs from previous VSB and MRA meetings. Dr. Pennapa also presented on the PVS VSB Twinning Programme including its objectives and the application process involved. Dr. Matayompong encouraged the participants to take advantage of this novel programme.

Dr. Scott Zaari, OIE STRIVES Project Officer, provided a presentation with the analysis of findings from 7 PVS Evaluation Reports related to the state of VSBs in SEA from 2006 to 2012. In this analysis, findings from critical competency (CC) III-5 A & B VSB Authority and Capacity were summarized anonymously from a sub-regional perspective.

Guest speakers Dr. Jan Vaarten, Executive Director of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), Dr. Julie Strous, Executive Director of Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC), Dr. Nichole Gallant, President of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), and Ms. Nurul Imlati, representative of the ASEAN Secretariat, presented and discussed regional models for cross-border recognition of veterinarians in the context of a potential veterinary MRA between AMS.

From the discussion and presentation by VSB representations, it is clear that the majority of countries in South-East Asia have a functioning VSB with a significant capacity to fulfill their core functions. Although there still exist some countries remaining without a functioning VSB, all of them have made significant steps to amend or create new legislation that if all goes as planned will pave the way for the establishment of functioning VSBs in all AMS by 2017. Participants agreed that the PVS Reports and the information now available on the VSB situation will provide a useful baseline to measure future progress. Follow-up missions could also shed some light on the gaps that were highlighted during the workshop such as the lack of regulation of veterinary para-professionals. The participants agreed that the VSB Twinning programme could also support VSBs in addressing these issues. They also recommended that the OIE consider reviewing the nature, scope, and role of veterinary para-professionals and the merits of expanding on this issue as OIE guidelines.

The workshop set the foundations necessary for a veterinary MRA. Workshop participants agreed to establish an ASEAN VSB Information Sharing Network in accordance with the revised Term of Reference proposed during the meeting and to advise the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Livestock (ASWGL) of this initiative. To be chaired by an ASEAN country, this network will share information, assist those countries that don’t at this stage have VSBs, and contribute in due course to MRA developments. 

With regard to legislation, six out of 10 AMS have a VSB with a legal basis. These are Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand. All of the AMS with a VSB (6) or related body (1) have some roles in regulating the delivery and quality of veterinary education in their countries. For example, all of the VSBs with a Veterinary Educational Establishments in their country have a role in setting minimum standards of Veterinary Education and/or accrediting these institutes.

To date, eight professional bodies, excluding the veterinary sector, have signed a multi-stage MRA that could eventually give individuals a greater ability to work in their respective field across the region. Still each profession is at different stages of progressing the framework of their signed MRA.

In terms of licensing/registration of veterinarians and veterinary para-professionals, all of the current VSBs or related bodies illustrated a strong capacity to license domestic and foreign veterinarians in their countries based on the defined professional qualifications (e.g. graduation from an accredited school).