AU-IBAR, through one of its flagship projects, SMP-AH, created a network of professionals, where experts of the Member States of IGAD would bring about harmonised procedures and activities to manage and operationalize national quarantines with the ultimate goal of improving disease management and trade in the Region and beyond.
The newly created network is intended to improve quarantine standards and practices, as well as foster information sharing on standards, measures and procedures (SMPs) and provide market intelligence.
A total of 17 participants convened in Khartoum, Sudan, from 30th September to 1st October 2015 to launch the network, dubbed “Regional Quarantine Network”. Experts from Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as from AU-IBAR, IGAD, OIE, USAID and AU-IBAR took part in the forum.
Highlighting the significance of the network, pertinent bodies, representing their institutions, made remarks during the opening. Recalling the evolution of quarantine stations in the IGAD Region, Dr Ameha Sebsibe on behalf of IGAD, noted that quarantines have taken a center stage since the blanket ban posed on exporting countries of IGAD and EAC by Middle Eastern and North African countries following the outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF). The trade negotiations conducted after the ban, he said, necessitated IGAD Member States to establish quarantines to allow inspection and certification of livestock and livestock products by importing countries. Dr Hiver Boussini on behalf of AU-IBAR stressed the role of AU-IBAR in providing guidance on quarantines in the Region. He noted that the Standard Methods and Procedures (SMPs) developed by AU-IBAR, for Export Quarantine is one such instrument to ensure harmonization of quarantine standards in the Region. Recalling the history of livestock auctions in North-Eastern Kenya, Dr Carl Harris on behalf of USAID Office in the Sudan, acknowledged the current efforts to develop quarantines standards at regional level as crucially important to enhance regional livestock trade.
The participants acknowledged efforts by AU-IBAR in partnership with IGAD with final support from USAID in running SMPAH project and its various activities that are very beneficial to participating countries.