Maldives Workshop on Strengthening Response to Food Borne Diseases

A workshop to strengthen and monitor Food Borne diseases was held in Maldives with the collaborative efforts of WHO Maldives and the Maldives Food and Drug Authority, Ministry of Health. The workshop aids the country to assess the current status of surveillance for priority foodborne diseases and based on this assessment, identify how the country could strengthen the surveillance of FBD, and in conclusion, develop a 2-5 year work plan.

The workshop was held based on the guidance by WHO surveillance of foodborne disease manual. The manual provides practical direction to help countries strengthen surveillance of and response to foodborne diseases. WHO Maldives facilitated as well as technical assistance with support from experts in the region Dr. Gongal, Regional Advisor-Food Safety, WHO South East Asia Regional Office. During the closing ceremony of the workshop, Dr Arvind Mathur WHO Representative to the Maldives handed over certificates to all the participants who took part in the four day workshop.

Through such capacity building workshops, WHO supports Ministry of Health to strengthen the surveillance and reporting of food borne disease outbreaks in the country. MOH is supported to develop a manual or guideline for investigating FBD outbreaks and integrating surveillance data to better understand risks across the food chain which would aid in better response to tackle such issues.

The workshop aided in establishing roles and responsibilities amongst the designated focal points in case of a Food Borne outbreak. It also helped streamline who does what in case of emergencies, and created standard operating procedures to act as guidelines in times of crisis.