Photo: 1959, Argentina. PANAFTOSA is the Veterinary Public Health Unit/Pan-American Foot-and-Mouth Disease Center of the Pan American Health Organization. The Center has done important work in the control and eradication of FMD since its opening in 1951. In 1997, technical cooperation on zoonoses was included in their mandates, and in 2007 food safety became another area of work.
This year, PANAFTOSA was in charge of organizing RIMSA 16, with the support and under the auspices of the Government of Chile, channeled through its Ministries of Health and Agriculture. RIMSA is the only forum in the Americas for the development of policies of common interest between health and agriculture sectors, guiding the definition of PAHO’s technical cooperation program in veterinary public health in the Americas. It brings together the ministers of health and agriculture in the region, as well as representatives of producer and consumer groups, and international organizations. During this meeting, the ministers discussed opportunities and challenges to maintaining sufficient and sustainable food supplies. They recognized the importance and complexity of the interactions that occur at the interface between public health, animal health and the environment and how to respond to such emerging challenges.