In the Netherlands, the collaboration between the government, corporate sector, human and animal healthcare is the key to success of the Animal Health Surveillance System. Twenty years down the road, this monitor is as important as ever for animal health and animal welfare, as well as protecting public health and the export position.
Where animals and people live together, an accurate system that constantly tracks the health of animals is absolutely essential. The Animal Health Surveillance System was established by Royal GD in collaboration with the government and the livestock farming sector back in 2002, as an addition to the monitoring programmes for specific animal diseases.
Communication of signals
Signals are received from farmers in various sectors (cattle, swine, poultry, small ruminants and equine), veterinarians, the processing industry, research institutes and organisations responsible for public health. The monitor researches, bundles and analyses these signals derived from mutually complementing instruments. The results are shared with farmers, veterinarians and relevant parties, such as the government, livestock sector, human healthcare providers and neighbouring countries (where relevant).
Good overview essential
Lotte Roos is the coordinator of the Animal Health Surveillance System at GD. “Thanks to the monitor, we have an effective overview of the situation and can quickly initiate further investigation when prompted. This all contributes to taking correct and timely measures, both in practice and at the policy level. In order for this to work well, effective collaboration between all the parties is essential. Collaboration and a continuous search for possibilities for improvement, are the basis for the Dutch approach.”
With regard to research and exchange of knowledge GD works together with a broad international network of researchers and laboratories. Thanks to this exchange, monitoring information can be placed in a broader, international framework, thus improving the chances of early detection of new diseases and greater insight into the best possible response. Animal diseases do not stop at national borders and the threat of new diseases is always present, with developments such as climate change and travel movements of people and animals.
Animal Health Programmes
We have developed animal health programmes for our international approach. These programmes have been made practically applicable for foreign markets, based on best practices in the Netherlands. There lies the greatest demand. The figure below shows an overview of our international programmes for the poultry, swine, cattle and small ruminants animal groups.