Twinning project at the 85th International Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad

Events such as the Novi Sad Agricultural Fair are a good opportunity to establish contact with different target groups, such as veterinary experts, other stakeholders and gen

eral public of all ages. The Twinning project was present at the 85th International Agricultural Fair at two stands – in Master hall, at the stand of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, and in the Hall 1, within the French pavilion. France has been the partner country of the fair this year.

The project produced flyers and magnets with educational messages, distributed to the visitors of the fair, pet owners, livestock breeders, stakeholders and other representatives, to evoke the challenges implied by antimicrobial resistance. In accordance with the “One Health” principle, public authorities dealing with human and veterinary public health invest a lot of effort to explain the risks, in particular for future generations. Nowadays, there are many alternative methods to protect human and animal health and prevent infectious diseases. Diverse vaccines are available, whilst in animal husbandry prophylaxis and biosafety measures also play a significant role.

A short video clip was also presented during the fair, explaining general principles of prudent use of antibiotics, which will also be available for educational purposes. The main message was placing the focus on antimicrobial resistance: prudent use of antibiotics must be promoted, which means respecting the prescriptions issued by physicians and veterinarians.

The project team, at the same time, spoke about the importance of good hygiene practice and gave away almost 3000 wet wipes to visitors and exhibitors with a clear message written on it – do not forget to wash your hands before and after eating. A whole range of quizzes and games for children of all ages wеrе used to promote good practice and the children could also get symbolic prizes. Apart from magnets, one could also get bookmarks, pens, USB sticks and timer-deviceс to remind the small ones how long it is necessary to wash one’s hands.

The Twinning project has also planned other activities by the end of this year, during the Veterinary Days (September, Zlatibor) and during World Antibiotic Awareness Week (November, Belgrade).

Antimicrobial Resistance Workshops

Two workshops on AMR were held in Belgrade on 30 January and in Novi Sad on 1 February 2018 within the Twinning Project, aimed at improving professional capacity of the competent authorities to implement and enforce standards and regulations on zoonotic, food-borne diseases and antimicrobial resistance control. Additionally, two more workshops on the same topic were held on 7 March at the Veterinary Specialist Institute of Jagodina and on 8 March at the Veterinary Specialist Institute of Niš.

The four events were attended by around 150 participants, including representatives of the Veterinary Directorate, Ministry of Health, Veterinary and Public Health Institutes, Veterinary Faculty, human physicians, pharmacists as well as representatives of the Agency for Medicines and Medicinal Devices of Serbia.

A short presentation done by the Twinning Project Team explained the objectives and results achieved so far in the scope of the project, and about the upcoming activities.

In line with the “One Health” approach, representatives of human and veterinary public health institutions presented legal and scientific backgrounds, research projects, statistics about the use of antibiotics in Serbia and the Draft National Programme for the control of Antimicrobial Resistance, developed by the common working group of both ministries. The agenda also included research projects and presentation of human cases – the problem of treating infections caused by multi-resistant agents and the concept of a multidisciplinary approach.

Ms. Catherine Dupuy from the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food spoke about misuses of antibiotics and reporting of the AMR monitoring data in accordance with EU requirements, as well as about existing guidelines for the prudent use of antibiotics.

It was concluded that networking of relevant actors and stakeholders from the professional public is crucial for the improvement of technical capacities and joint action in reducing the risk for antimicrobial resistance.

Workshop in Belgrade

Workshop in Novi Sad

Workshop in Jagodina

Workshop in Niš

Food Monitoring Workshops

The fabrication of safe and healthy food is an important challenge for food producers and opens new international markets for Serbian products.

After the development of the first Food Monitoring Program, in line with European Union requirements, the Twinning project organized the first two workshops in Novi Sad on 27 February at the Veterinary Scientific Institute and on 01 March at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Belgrade.

Training sessions continued in the summer – 17 July in Kraljevo and 18 July in Niš.

The Hungarian Twinning project experts Ms. Zsuzsanna Sréterné Lancz and Ms. Adrienn Berkics spoke about microbiological criteria set down in Community legislation, the role of the different competent authorities, sampling strategies and statistical background of planning the monitoring programs and their structure, as well as the designation of official laboratories.

Representatives of the beneficiary country, Ms. Tamara Bošković (Veterinary Directorate) and Prof Dr Neđeljko Karabasil (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine) presented the new Rulebook on the Monitoring of food of animal origin and sampling methods. The final part of the workshop was dedicated to specific cases of the most important pathogens in food safety criteria within EU legislation: Listeria Monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., Campylobacter and Shigatoxin producing E. coli.

Around 50 participants attended the workshops, coming mostly from regional veterinary and public health institutes, veterinary inspections, laboratories and research institutes and the Veterinary Directorate.

Workshop in Novi Sad

Workshop in Belgrade



Workshop in Kraljevo

Workshop in Niš

Q Fever Trainings in Kraljevo and Novi Sad

The Twinning project organized two training sessions in the veterinary institutes in Kraljevo and Novi Sad on 16 and 18 January 2018, focused on harmonization of methods, analysis, interpretation of results and reporting as well as improvement of theoretical and practical knowledge on detection and characterization of zoonotic agents with emphasis on Coxiella Burnetii. The training was a follow-up of two recently conducted missions regarding Q-Fever surveillance and the development of guidelines.

The two institutes hosted short-term experts Mr. Ádám Dán and Ms. Zsuzsanna Rónai from Hungarian National Food Chain Safety Office Veterinary Diagnostic Directorate.

The trainings started with presentation, evaluation and discussion of the results of the “Q fever real-time PCR internal proficiency test” organised by the Hungarian NFCSO reference laboratory with samples prepared from three matrices by the Veterinary Specialist Institute Kraljevo, followed by giving final remarks on the whole Q fever real-time PCR detection method, from sample process to quantitative PCR results.

More than 15 participants from the Veterinary Specialist Institute in Kraljevo and the Scientific Veterinary Institute in Novi Sad took part in the training sessions.

Training in Kraljevo

Workshop in Novi Sad

Study visit to France

The study visit to France was held 15–21 November 2017 and was linked to the international Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week, which takes place every year in November. Two important conferences were in the center of the program. The first one is organized every year by the ANSES, being the French authority for veterinary medicinal products. The Agency is the contact point for various EU bodies and the national focal point for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), but also the coordinator of the RESAPATH surveillance network that monitors the antimicrobial resistance of pathogenic bacteria isolated from animals. RESAPATH is the only veterinary network that is a member of the National Observatory for Epidemiology of Bacterial Resistance to Antimicrobials (ONERBA) that brings together several networks in both general medical practice and hospital medicine.

The second conference took place on the 16th November, and was organized in collaboration of the Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Environment of France with this year’s key topic communication regarding AMR.

Additional visits were organized to the Head Office of the Veterinary Services (DGAL), to the ANSES Head Office as well as to different local and regional offices. Meetings with the biggest French Veterinary Association and a visit of a big veterinary practice also took place  as the French veterinary practitioners are today very much involved in the surveillance and monitoring of AMR. The participants have also had the possibility to visit the biggest veterinary school in France and to discuss with the French Agency in charge of wildlife (ONCFS) and the biggest association for wildlife protection (LPO).

Kick-Off Meeting

The European Union Twinning Project for Serbia “Enhancing the capacities of the Serbian authorities in zoonoses and food borne disease control“ will be implemented during the next two years by a Hungarian French consortium in collaboration with the Veterinary Directorate of the Ministry of Health and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia.

The Member States public authorities involved in the project will be the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and National Food Safety Office and the French Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

The official Kick-Off Event was held on Tuesday, 04 April 2017, at 10.00 a.m. in Belgrade at Palace of Serbia, in the conference room “Beograd”.

Continue reading “Kick-Off Meeting”