[The role of a specialised risk analysis group in the Veterinary Services of a developing country].Rev Sci Tech. 2003 Aug; 22(2):587-95.RS
Since the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures was established, risk analysis in trade, and ultimately in Veterinary and Animal Health Services, has become strategically important. Irrespective of their concept (discipline, approach, method, process), all types of risk analysis in trade involve four periods or phases:--risk identification-- risk assessment--risk management--risk information or communication. All veterinarians involved in a risk analysis unit must have in-depth knowledge of statistics and the epidemiology of transmissible diseases, as well as a basic knowledge of veterinary science, economics, mathematics, data processing and social communication, to enable them to work with professionals in these disciplines. Many developing countries do not have enough well-qualified professionnals in these areas to support a risk analysis unit. This will need to be rectified by seeking strategic alliances with other public or private sectors that will provide the required support to run the unit properly. Due to the special nature of its risk analysis functions, its role in supporting decision-making, and the criteria of independence and transparency that are so crucial to its operations, the hierarchical position of the risk analysis unit should be close to the top management of the Veterinary Service. Due to the shortage of personnel in developing countries with the required training and scientific and technical qualifications, countries with organisations responsible for both animal and plant health protection would be advised to set up integrated plant and animal risk analysis units. In addition, these units could take charge of all activities relating to WTO agreements and regional agreements on animal and plant health management.