With the aim of discussing and sharing ideas on the control and elimination of brucellosis and the development of Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) for the implementation of animal health programs, CARD, in the framework of the USDA-funded Animal Health project, organized four-day workshops in mid May.
The brucellosis workshop was attended by 30 participants and the SOP workshop by 20 people from the State Food Safety Service (SFSS) and veterinary sanitary, food safety and phyto-sanitary SNCO (State non-commercial Organization).
The workshops were conducted by the USDA consultant Dr. Valerie Ragan. She has been working in Armenia since 2006; formerly she worked as the national brucellosis epidemiologist for USDA overseeing the brucellosis eradication program in the United States.
The deputy Director of the “Vet/Sanitary, Phyto-Sanitary and Food Safety Service Center” SNCO Mr. Tatul Stepanyan gave a speech and delivered a presentation regarding the brucellosis situation in Armenia. In his speech he stated that, “Brucellosis is the priority disease for Armenia. In my opinion, we should start from the policy level, should adjust the brucellosis decree and make it more practical for the implementers”.
Upon the completion of the workshops, the USDA Animal Health program manager Lindsay Malecha wrote a letter to the Minister of Agriculture Mr. Sergo Karapetyan, where her particular note was: “In order to increase the effectiveness of implementation of the Armenian brucellosis program, we suggest the creation of a working group (WG), led by the Ministry, and comprised of a balance of SFSS and SNCO staff. We suggest to have this group set up as soon as possible, and charged with identifying policy issues needing resolution and ensuring the clear, practical SOPs are developed that can facilitate the effective implementation of a program to eliminate brucellosis in Armenia”.