The creation of the West and Central African sub-network dedicated to foot and mouth disease (FMD) is the result of a desire of RESOLAB members to strengthen working together on priority transboundary diseases of common interest to their livestock, including FMD, and for which collaboration and information sharing should be strengthened. Thus the annual RESOLAB meeting held in December 2010 in Bamako decided to form this sub-network to harmonize the activities of surveillance, diagnosis of FMD, develop cooperation in the area on samples collection, as well as sample testing and shipment, strengthening laboratory capacity for diagnosis of FMD and share information relevant to the members interest to build technical capacity but also to better serve the needs of their countries, the region and the international community.
To this end, two network members, one Francophone and one Anglophone, have been proposed to animate the network and collect information of common interest and share it within the network. In the immediate agenda for 2011, specific training sessions will be organized to perform analysis for virus identification in case of outbreak investigation, and therefore improve the knowledge on the circulating viral strains, which can be useful information, not only for the selection of relevant vaccines, but also to improve the knowledge of the epidemiology of the disease in the sub-region. The annual meetings of RESOLAB should give a regular opportunity to review progress, and develop workplan for the coming period. These initial activities of the sub-network on FMD are supported by the EuFMD Commission, FAO, to improve information on FMDV circulation, but it is hoped other donors will also support at national and regional level in future.