[The contribution of quality assurance to national veterinary organizations in developing countries: the case of Africa].Rev Sci Tech. 2003 Aug; 22(2):679-88.RS
Food safety has, within a few years, become an essential concern for producers and consumers, especially in Western countries, but also in Africa. African countries are increasingly aware of the issues involved, and of the need to react and to implement appropriate strategies in order to avoid public health risks and obstacles to their export markets. Most countries recognise that the overall sanitary quality of foodstuffs produced and distributed in the region must be improved. The OIE (World organisation for animal health) recommends that Veterinary Services attempt to improve the safety of animal products by establishing a framework of risk management, throughout the food chain, which will reduce risks by eliminating or controlling hazards during the first stages of processing. The activities of Veterinary Services, from the organisational, technical, financial and human resource points of view, must be guided by quality assurance considerations, pursuant to the standards laid down in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the OIE. The quality of Veterinary Services depends therefore on a range of factors, including fundamental ethical, organisational and technical principles. It goes without saying that ethical principles cannot be effective unless the Veterinary Services have the resources necessary to reinforce them. The implementation of quality assurance by the Veterinary Services in developing countries, and particularly in Africa, will promote better organisation, effective use of limited resources, and professionalism in decision-making. It will also allow for better access to international markets thanks to certification recognised by the OIE and the international community.