From the 5th-9th of August, AETS’ India office, together with the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in India, facilitated a mission on Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Control in Delhi. The programme falls in the context of the European Union’s “Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF)” initiative, which aims to improve and strengthen Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures in the EU and in developing countries to allow for better production, processing and trade of safe food, healthy animals and plants.

Both the AETS India and Thailand offices were mobilised and organised 2 FMD experts, Dr Giancarlo Ferrari from Italy, as well as with Dr Ravindra Sharma from India, to prepare and deliver the beneficial content during the programme. Both experts jointly delivered a Training of Trainers programme on the topic over the course of the 5 days. The Indian Ministry played an active role, including nominating 38 participants, veterinary doctors who work in local government veterinary departments, from 25 Indian states.

This Training of Trainers course provided participants with an enhanced knowledge of implementation strategies for FMD vaccines, effectiveness monitoring of vaccination campaigns and actions needed in the event of reported vaccine failures. The aim of the course was to train those veterinarians present in the knowledgeable management, supervision and implementation of vaccination campaigns and to acquire skills for developing methods to better evaluate the impact of FMD vaccines and vaccination programmes in endemic settings. The participants were able to perform and make use of serological studies to assess vaccine quality and population immunity, and ultimately developed the skills to conduct basic investigations into suspected vaccination failures. During the training, participants were asked to carry out specific exercises for each of the training modules. Participants have further been asked by the Ministry to submit feedback regarding the training programmes to the veterinary staff in their respective states within one month.  

The programme elicited an all-round enthusiastic response from the participants, who actively sought various remedies to real-life situations faced by livestock and made use of the programme to better prepare them and their teams. Analysis of the feedback questionnaires revealed an overwhelming appreciation of the course content and tutoring quality of both experts.