Antigua Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries participates in Epidemiology and Risk Assessment
Antigua Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries participates in Epidemiology and Risk Assessment || Picture Courtesy: Agriculture Ministry - Antigua (Facebook)
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St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: The Antigua Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs has informed that the country has participated recently in an Epidemiology and Risk Assessment course which took place during 15-17th May in Havana, Cuba.

Dr Chere Kellman, who is one of the veterinarians attached to the Veterinary Division within the Ministry of Agriculture attended this cohort. The actual computation of the risk assessment is very detailed and involved. “We were warned that the actual process would take some time to be achieved and I never expected that it would be such an intense process, but in the end, I understood and appreciated the exposure”, Kellman said.

As per the update, according to the official document given to the participants, the following was what to be expected.

The need for an introductory course on risk assessment principles and methodologies. At the end of the course, the participants will:
• Know the main components characterizing the risk analysis process,
• Be able to perform the main steps for a qualitative rapid risk assessment,
• Know the main basic principles on which a quantitative risk assessment is based.

The ministry notified that description Risk assessment methodologies are largely used in animal health and food safety sectors. However, the lack of available data and the frequent need for a rapid response and assessment, often hamper the possibility of performing a quantitative risk assessment. In these circumstances, a qualitative or semi-quantitative approach may be a valuable choice to provide the decision-makers with the evaluations and assessments needed.

FAO recently published a guideline for conducting a Rapid Risk Assessment (RRA) (https://www.fao.org/…/resourcesdetails/en/c/1382073/) which can be useful to be followed to make people familiar with the steps needed to perform such assessments. In this course, participants will be accompanied through the various steps for performing an RRA, using case studies and practical examples.

Reportedly, basic concepts on the main components characterizing the risk analysis process and elements of principles and methods for quantitative risk assessment will be also provided during the course.

This course was intended as a basic course, propaedeutic for a more advanced course on quantitative risk assessment methodologies.

Training methodologies

The course will include presentations by the tutor to stimulate discussion and exchange of views among the participants. Working group sessions will be dedicated to the practical acquisition of capacities with confrontation and discussion with the other participants on specific case studies.

Evaluation At the end of the course, an anonymous paper form for the evaluation of the quality of the course will be distributed to the participants.

According to Dr Kellman, her favourite was how the tutor expressed the manner in which information should be disseminated to the public. He advised that the truth must always be given, not to be misconstrued but tactful and not to be amplified to the point where it can create chaos because of misinformation.

Accordingly, Antigua and Barbuda was the only English speaking country to attend. Other countries represented were Suriname, Guadeloupe, Curacao and Cuba.