Cochran Fellowship Program for Armenia and Georgia on Safe Prescribing of Veterinary Pharmaceuticals in Food Animals was organized at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, Colorado in mid spring, 2014. Both private and public sectors from Armenia participated in the program, represented by private practicing veterinarians Aghvan Poghosyan and Simon Martirosyan, as well as a specialist from the RA State Service for Food Safety, Hovhannes Hovhannisyan.
The Program was highly evaluated by the participants, since it was a good opportunity for both Armenian and Georgian veterinary specialists to talk about regional problems and challenges in the field of veterinary medicine, relating to antimicrobial drug resistance. It also included discussions about the associated gaps in the field of legislation in both countries to regulate the mechanisms of use of pharmaceuticals and the issues of their proper classification. Participants shared information about the latest achievements of Armenia and Georgia in regard with the reforms in veterinary medicine and legislative fields. They learnt about the experience of the US’ regulation of the relationship between a farmer and a veterinarian, the latest trends in solving the global problems of the use of antimicrobial drugs, chemical substances, hormones and vaccines in food animals and resistance to them.
In the frame of the Cochran Fellowship Program, the Armenian and Georgian veterinarians visited the Colorado State USDA office in Denver to meet with lead experts from the USDA Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health (CEAH) team. The team delivered interesting presentations on the structure of the CEAH, its functions and responsibilities as well as the methodologies and techniques applied by them for the surveillance and control of animal diseases and the concept of “one health”.
Apart from the theoretical knowledge that the participants received through numerous lectures, meetings and discussions with the vet experts, clinical pharmacologists and lab specialists, they also had on-site visits to various farms to get familiarized with the process of animal breeding in the US. There was also a tour to a veterinary teaching hospital, where they learnt about the establishment of the hospital, were shown the facilities and equipment used in treating pets, agricultural animals and wildlife.
The delegation was introduced to the latest methods for the measurement of antibiotics residues in milk and meat in the laboratories of the USDA and Colorado State University.
The Cochran Fellowship was a state-of-the-art training program that brought the Armenian and Georgian delegations together to discuss one of the global problems of the resistance to antibiotics among humans and animals developed as a result of abuse of antimicrobial drugs, as well as to think about joint efforts needed to solve veterinary issues that have an immediate impact on the public health.