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The Southern Cone Continues To Fight FMD

21 April 2010

SOUTHERN CONE - At a meeting held late last month, the official sanitary bodies of the member countries of the Southern Cone, which include Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, have confirmed that José Hugo Fernández de Liger, will continue as a technical coordinator of Mercosur Free from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Action Programme (PAMA), for another period of two years.

Fernández de Liger started his professional career in the Agri-food Health and Quality National Service (Senasa) of Argentina, where he worked as the coordinator of the Foot and Mouth Disease Programme and later, he was appointed, by the member countries of CVP, as the PAMA coordinator, office which he is currently holding, in the Mercosur Secretariat in Montevideo City branch.

PAMA is a regional programme that copes with FMD, and of which Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay participate, and Bolivia as well, but as a guest Country. PAMA tends to complement the national programMEs of each country, thus strengthening its sanitary structure but, essentially, to promote the integration of the official veterinary services in joint actions, specially conducted in border zones.

Is seeks to support FMD eradication in Mercosur and in associated Countries and to contribute to the establishment of a solid system of integrated regional veterinary assistance, that may permit the maintenance of this sanitary condition over time.

It is financed by Mercosur Fund for Structural Convergence (Focem), through non-refundable contributions, with a total amount of over 16 million US dollars, transferred to the countries, during the 5-year term of the programme's duration.

The last two years of performance show a satisfactory result. Over two thousand Senasa workers have been trained by means of courses, seminaries, and mock outbreaks of the disease; forty pick up trucks and nineteen motorcycles have been added to the anti-FMD activities; five border control posts between Brazil and Bolivia have been built; a great number of Senasa offices have been provided with computing equipment (printers, computers, photocopier machines, digital cameras, screens, projectors), power generators and communications equipment, fumigation equipment, laboratory equipment, furnishings (office desks and chairs), software, vaccination instruments, thermometers, refrigerators, freezers, diagnosis kits and laboratory materials.

Furthermore, multiple joint technical activities were carried out especially in High Surveillance Zones (ZAV) in borders, but, essentially, the paramount indicator of the benefits obtained is the absence of FMD outbreaks during this period, in the countries participating in this Programme.

Mercosur encompasses Southern American countries in a regional trade agreement.

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