[The organisation and future development of Veterinary Services in Latin America].Rev Sci Tech. 2003 Aug; 22(2):449-61.RS
Latin America undoubtedly has comparative advantages in the fields of animal production, animal health and the production of food of animal origin. However, countries in Latin America must build on these strengths if the continent is to become more competitive and be able to deal with the complexities of world markets. To do this, Veterinary Services must define their objectives and establish quality standards on which to base their work. For this to occur, the State must create well-defined regulations, establish systems of audit and find ways of working which allow for a high degree of coordination and collaboration between the public and private sectors. This should be done within a framework of a quality assurance system, which allows for responsible accreditation and independent audit and evaluation. The author discusses the approaches of the different countries in the region to animal health, zoonosis, food safety, veterinary drugs control, animal welfare and export-import control. All programmes relating to these issues must be based on technical information gained through epidemiological surveillance, the network of diagnostic laboratories, quarantine systems, risk analysis, identification and traceability of animals and animal products, registration and control of veterinary drugs, and food safety research. In some countries these systems are already being developed. Maintaining good international relations and cooperating with neighbouring countries is always a challenge for official Veterinary Services and international organisations such as the OIE (World organisation for animal health) have a key role to play in facilitating these relationships.