PVS PATHWAY

Expanding the horizons of the PVS Pathway

Results of the OIE PVS Tool Training Workshop for OIRSA Member Countries, Mexico, February 2018 

Nowadays it is indisputable that the actions developed by the Veterinary Services to achieve the eradication of animal and zoonotic diseases, the improvement in animal welfare and the provision of guarantees in the Food Safety depends on effective, efficient and sustainable structures.

OIE promotes good governance and the strengthening of Veterinary Services, since they implement measures that safeguard the health and welfare of animals, as well as the safety of animals and foods. For the OIE, the Veterinary Services and their actions are considered as true “global public goods”.

What is the OIE PVS Pathway? 

The PVS Pathway is a global program, with the purpose of constantly improving the Veterinary Services of a country, also applicable to the Aquatic Animal Health Services . This Pathway takes as reference the existing OIE Standards for the quality of the Veterinary Services, and evaluates the capacities of these to align themselves to the standards established in the different chapters of the Codes, either Terrestrial or Aquatic. In its next stages, it provides the tools to improve these capacities in a sustainable manner.

In the case of a continuous process, the initial stage consists of an external and independent evaluation of the capabilities of the Veterinary Services, applying the PVS Tool for the Evaluation of Benefits of Veterinary Services (the OIE PVS Tool). Based on this qualitative evaluation, the next step, the PVS Gap Analysis, provides a quantitative assessment of needs and priorities, producing an action and investment plan for the next five years.

The OIE also has tools aimed at the development of capacities in the countries, such as actions aimed at strengthening the Veterinary Legislation, the development of the public-private partnerships, the improvement of the Veterinary Education Establishments and the Diagnostic Laboratories.

This Pathway proposes a model of improvements in the form of cycles, which is why it offers the development of PVS Follow-up Missions, in which the advances and analyzes the areas that will be included in the subsequent improvement cycles.

It should be noted that participation in this process is voluntary, so that both the request for evaluations and the decision on which capacities will be prioritized are the responsibility of each Member Country.

The Reflection Forum on the PVS Pathway

Held in April 2017 at the OIE Headquarters, the Reflection Forum on the PVS Pathway made it possible to review the lessons learned after ten years of successful operation, with about 350 missions carried out and full evidence of its transforming role of the Veterinary Services. Among other outcomes of this Forum, four fundamental components were identified, in turn divided into critical concepts, which provide the lines of action of this Pathway.

These four fundamental components refer to the appropriation of the OIE PVS Pathway by the Member Countries, the greater involvement of different areas of the OIE, improvements to the tools together to the greater availability of experts, and finally, to the relationship of the OIE PVS Pathway with other tools and their application by the different strategic partners.

Applying the results of the Reflection Forum in practice: The development of the Workshop 

The Training Workshop on the OIE PVS Tool was carried out at the facilities of the Reference Laboratory of the National Center for Diagnostic Services in Animal Health (CENASA) of the National Service of Health, Safety and Agri-food Quality of Mexico (SENASICA), in the city of Tecámac.

This activity was addressed to representatives of the member countries of the Regional Organization for Animal Health (OIRSA), including Cuba. In the case of the host country, it summoned officials from different Directorates, as well as State and Regional Coordinators. The event was also attended by representatives of OIRSA, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB / IDB) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

The design of the Workshop focused on two of the four Fundamental Components identified in the Reflection Forum, especially the appropriation of PVS Pathway tools by countries, and their use at the sub-regional level together with the strategic allies of the OIE. For the case of the theoretical contents, the organization of an electronic meeting and the dissemination of the study materials before the event allowed to achieve a good level of prior knowledge among the participants.

Apart from the provision of basic knowledge about the OIE PVS Pathway, and in particular the PVS Evaluation Tool, an approach based on the resolution of practical cases was sought that required participants to apply the tool in various situations.

These exercises included the evaluation of some critical competencies included in the OIE PVS Tool for a fictitious country, ending in a role play in which the groups of evaluators had to present and discuss the findings and the results of their analysis before the authorities of this country. This required the participants to take the role as evaluators, analyzing the evidence and deciding on the levels of progression of different critical competencies, but also defining the best practices for the selection and provision of information for the reception of a Mission.

Both approaches, taken together, seek that the PVS evaluations, whether carried out by the OIE experts or as self-assessments, are the most representative of the actual situation of the Veterinary Service evaluated. 

The appropriation of the OIE PVS Pathway by countries 

Being a tool “made to measure” for the evaluation and continuous improvement of the Veterinary Services, added to its robustness and the proven results of its effectiveness, it is natural that Member Countries would need to appropriate the working methodology and tools developed by the OIE.

In this way, the OIE has initiated and will continue to make progress in strengthening the provision to Member Countries of the necessary training to expand the use of these proven tools. This capacity building should not be left only in the training of local evaluators, or eventually with regional scopes, but necessarily requires the creation of coordination teams. The coordination teams, whether at the level of the central governments, the provinces, or even at the supranational level, should then be firmly linked to the management of cycles of evaluation, planning and execution of improvements of the Veterinary Services, and therefore they will require the creation or strengthening of areas dedicated to strategic planning. In short, it will give greater strength, stability and independence to the actions of the Veterinary Services.

In the case of the United Mexican States, the challenge of facing the missions of the OIE PVS Pathway has been the same as those faced by countries with large territorial extensions and federal systems of government. The country is organized in 31 states (plus Mexico City, the federal capital) for an area of ​​almost two million square kilometers, with the structure of the Veterinary Services replicating that of the government system. In this way, SENASICA, apart from the functions and programs with federal scope, has specific delegations and functions in each of the states.

That is why the Workshop included a block of contents and exercises where the instances for the development of self-evaluation missions were presented and discussed.

It should be clarified that the creation of national self-assessment teams does not leave out the evaluations carried out by the OIE experts, but complements them and strengthens the capacity to improve the Veterinary Services in the time between external missions. On the other hand, self-evaluation missions are the basis for feedback from national or regional systems for improving Veterinary Services, within their planning cycles.

The appropriation of the OIE PVS Pathway by regional organizations: CVP and OIRSA, strategic allies of the OIE 

The use of the tools of the OIE PVS Pathway by regional organizations is not new in the Americas. To date, we have the successful experience of the joint work of the member countries of the Permanent Veterinary Committee of the Southern Cone (CVP).

The Permanent Veterinary Committee of the Southern Cone (CVP) is formed by the Chief Veterinary Services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. This Committee was created with the mission of coordinating actions and increasing the capacities of its members to prevent, control and avoid the health impacts and risks that affect the production and commercialization of animals.

Based on the organization of a training workshop on the OIE PVS Tool for the CVP member countries in Argentina in 2013, the OIE provided the participants with the necessary training to participate as regional observers in the PVS Missions carried out by the OIE experts in their member countries. Next, he has formalized a work team focused on reviewing the results of the missions of the PVS Pathway, in order to balance the differences among its members and develop collaborative strategies to improve the capabilities of its Veterinary Services.

In the case of the member countries of OIRSA, from the present Workshop the knowledge and tools were contributed to advance in the near future in the coordination of the application of the OIE PVS Pathway in its Member Countries, including the joint evaluation of its results. In a similar way to the case of the CVP, the development of the collaborative actions necessary to participate in the improvement of its Veterinary Services in a coordinated manner is proposed.

Conclusion 

The PVS Pathway is one of the tools that the OIE makes available to its Veterinary Services and Aquatic Animal Health Services, as a work methodology that promotes continuous improvement of the quality of its benefits, accompanied by the improvement in the financing of its activities.

The Workshop fulfilled the objective of providing knowledge and basic practical training for the management of PVS evaluation missions. The participants were very satisfied with the workshop. In this, the discussions and presentations, the working groups, the exchange of information and the personal contacts made gave the participants the opportunity to compare and contrast the situations of their countries, as well as to debate about problems of mutual interest.

The interest in the realization of PVS self-evaluations, as well as their joint use by various regional organizations, has demonstrated the robustness and utilization of the PVS Pathway, which will continue to yield results and histories of success for all its member countries and interested parties.

This activity could be organized thanks to the contribution of the United Mexican States, through SENASICA, to the OIE Global Fund for Animal Health and Welfare (OIE World Fund).

To know more …

OIE Bulletin No. 3 (2017) – The OIE PVS Pathway: Reflections and directions after 10 years of operation

On our website: The OIE PVS Pathway