Making a difference at national and regional levels involves clear guidance, strategies, priorities, and legal frameworks—what have we learned, and what are the next steps for countries and regions? How can our experiences with rabies be used as an entry point to enhance national One Health programmes?
Moderator: Dr Bernadette Abela-Ridder, Team Leader, Neglected Tropical Diseases, WHO
Dr Bernadette Abela-Ridder
World Health Organization (WHO)
Dr Bernadette Abela-Ridder works at World Health Organization (WHO) leading the work on diseases associated with the human animal ecosystems interface at the Department for the Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and is the Global Lead on rabies elimination. Previously she worked in the WHO Department of Food Safety and Zoonoses, US Food and Drug Administration on antimicrobial resistance, for l’Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) in Cameroon on emergence of simian immunodeficiency viruses from non-human primates including bushmeat, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. on veterinary public health, and in clinical veterinary practice.
Dr Ottorino Cosivi
Dr Ottorino Cosivi was appointed as Director of PANAFTOSA, in 2009. An Italian citizen, he graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Parma, Italy in 1987. In 1990 he obtained a master’s degree in Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases and Preventive Medicine from the Center for Tropical Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He then continued his studies in emergency health treatment and community health at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr Cosivi began his professional career in 1987 as a Veterinary Surgeon dedicated to preventive medicine in Parma, Italy. From 1988 to 1989, he served as scientific advisor at FATRO SpA, an Italian pharmaceutical company. From 1991 to 1992, he worked as a veterinary surgeon in preventive medicine in York, UK.
Dr Cosivi began working with WHO in 1993 as an Associate Professional Officer in the Veterinary Public Health Unit of the Division of Communicable Diseases in Geneva. From 1996 to 1999 he was a Specialist Scientist in Zoonoses within the Department of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response. In 2000 he was appointed Project Leader of the Preparedness Program for Deliberately Caused Epidemics. From 2006 to 2007, he served as Acting Director of the Mediterranean Centre for Health Risk Reduction (WMC) in Tunisia. In 2008 he was assigned to the Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Diseases, in charge of zoonoses and the supervision of the WHO Program to Control Zoonoses in the Mediterranean, where he served until 2009.
Dr Qiulan Chen
Qiulan Chen works in the Division of Infectious Disease Control, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), as director of Branch of animal and vector-borne diseases. In addition to continue to provide technical assistance to China national human rabies program, she led the rabies subprogram of China-United States of America Emergence and Reemergence Infectious Diseases Program, to improve the accessibility and quality of PEP in rural China. Her team developed PEP training materials including video based on the results of investigation on the PEP clinics’ performance at grass root level, and held the first Stepwise Approach to Rabies Elimination (SARE) Assessment in China based on one health approach. Acting as deputy leader of rabies vaccine working group of national immunization program, she organized and participated the update of national guideline on Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) according to the WHO new position paper. She is also Deputy Director of Rabies Working Committee, Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, and spares extra efforts to promote a good scientific environment to eliminate dog-mediated rabies in China by conducting seminars, workshops and education activities across multi-disciplinary and the general public.
Dr. Qiulan Chen now also serves as team leader of the China CDC COVID-19 Emergency Response Strategy Team. She once worked in Division of Tuberculosis Control, China CDC, in charge of the co-infection prevention and control of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Prior to that, Dr. Qiulan Chen received her bachelor of medicine from Peking University, her master and doctor of Epidemiology and Statistics from China CDC.
Dr Vivian Iwar
I am convinced of the effectiveness of policies that integrate public health, community health education and adequate food safety, food security and appropriate nutrition for disease prevention. Such an approach can promote healthy and productive populations and drive sustainable animal resources development. My training in Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Epidemiology and Animal Health Economics, and Public Health, and my experience working on animal health and food safety issues at the national and regional levels, affirm my belief in health approaches that ensure the integrity of the human-animal-ecosystem interface for mitigating disease. As a young veterinarian at the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom-Nigeria, working on diagnostics issues, as well as programs that supported the availability of affordable and nutritious sources of animal protein through the promotion of rabbit meat for poorly resourced families and communities, I learned first hand how this impacts food security and nutrition.
My management training and policy development experience reaffirms my belief that interventions that support preventive health care, adequate wholesome foods and a sanitary environment are cost-effective. Such approaches have the potential of ensuring food and nutritional security, improving livelihoods, and supporting overall health. My work in the private sector showed me the need for public-private sector partnerships and interventions for affordable and available animal nutrition and health safety and protection for a wider sphere of coverage.
My desire is to bring my veterinary, public health, and management training experiences and leadership to impact health outcomes using inter-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approaches as encouraged in One Health. This is in line with the overall ECOWAS Community strategy for development through the promotion of a cohesive, coherent, consistent and congruence of purpose towards an ECOWAS of people. My current position as the Executive Director of the ECOWAS Regional Animal Health Center (RAHC), affords me the opportunity to continue to work on these issues.
Dr Vasili Basiladze
Deputy Head of the LEPL National Food Agency of Georgia. Covering and supervising Veterinary Department, Food Safety Department, Tbilisi City Service and Regional Divisions, as well as managing and coordinating implementation of main goals and objectives of the Agency, Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) of Georgia, Delegate of Georgia to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Experienced manager with over 15 years of experience working in Georgia’s agricultural sector
Dr Thomas Müller
I am an academic veterinary virologist/epidemiologist with a long-standing research interest in viral diseases and zoonoses, particularly rabies. I studied veterinary medicine at the Veterinary Faculty at the Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, from 1984 to 1989 and graduated from the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Leipzig, Germany in 1994. I have worked for the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI), Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Germany, for more 30 years as an epidemiologist and virologist in the field of rabies.
Since 1995 I am head of the National Reference Laboratory for Rabies in Germany. In 2003, I was nominated head of the OIE Reference Laboratory for Rabies and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Rabies Surveillance and Research at the FLI. I have been serving on international committees and expert panels pertaining to rabies, including those of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE ad hoc groups on rabies), the World Health Organization (WHO expert committee on rabies), and the European Union (subgroup rabies of the EU task force) and was one of the founding members of the informal group Partners for Rabies Prevention (PRP). My areas of research are rabies diagnostics, pathogenesis, epidemiology as well as rabies control with specialization in oral vaccination of wild carnivores & domestic dogs.