The impact of national policies on animal disease reporting within selected Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs)

Tukana, Andrew, Hedlefs, Robert, and Gummow, Bruce (2018) The impact of national policies on animal disease reporting within selected Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). Tropical Animal Health and Production, 50 (7). pp. 1547-1558.

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Abstract

A semi-systematic literature review of national policies was carried out in relation to surveillance and disease reporting in Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs). It also analysed the animal disease reporting structures in Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of those reporting structures were examined in relation to how they impacted the detection and management of animal diseases in PICTs. Field missions collected information on animal disease reporting structures and these were discussed in detail with country officials and documented. The findings from the literature review indicated that there is very little policy to support work in surveillance and disease reporting within national government structures of the countries studied. This increases the potential for disease transmission and the introduction of exotic diseases as the efficiency of disease reporting is low. The findings from the SWOT analysis of the reporting structures indicated that there were commonalities across the countries studied, i.e. reporting structures were long with multiple legs that were not functioning properly and this was worsened when positions were vacant in the reporting structure. The hierarchical nature of the reporting structure also reduced reporting efficiency as reports took a longer time to reach decision makers at the top of the structure. High officer turnover and the shortage of veterinarians in the countries studied also affected the efficiency of disease reporting as most in-county officials were inexperienced and could not recognise disease signs and there were no veterinarians to supervise them. Existing reporting structures need to be reviewed to remove duplication and shorten the chain. However, this could override existing command structures and would need to be documented and awareness created with the officers involved. There also needs to be more collaboration with FAO, OIE, academic institutions and national governments to create an environment conducive for the development of policies that support work on surveillance to improve disease reporting in PICTs. The shortage of veterinarians could be addressed by influencing national governments to create better policies to retain veterinarians in the animal health services; this should be supported by creating reasonable work conditions and remuneration packages. This should also be supported with policies to send young graduates to study veterinary science overseas and have a career path for them when they return. Engagement of retired veterinarians from developed countries and re-evaluating the criteria for veterinarian registration could be short-term solutions to address the shortage of veterinarians in PICTs.

Item ID: 55875
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-7438
Keywords: national policies, animal disease, reporting, challenges, Pacific Island Countries
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Copyright Information: © Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018
Additional Information:

A version of this publication was included as Chapter 4 of the following PhD thesis: Tukana, Andrew S. (2018) A study of Brucellosis in cattle within the Pacific Island Community as a model for disease surveillance and reporting. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Australian Aid program (AusAid)
Projects and Grants: AusAid agreement no. 57668
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2018 08:21
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070704 Veterinary Epidemiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences @ 100%
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