A regional training workshop on data analysis, risk analysis and risk mapping for transboundary animal diseases (TADs) for the Greater Horn of Africa (GHoA) region was recently organized by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) in collaboration with the IGAD/ICPALD, under the framework of the surveillance for trade sensitive diseases (STSD) and Standards Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) projects supported by the European Union and USAID/KEA respectively from 12-16 December 2016 in Entebbe, Uganda. The training received technical support from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and FAO ECTAD-Eastern Africa.
The overall objective of the training program was to enhance knowledge and skills of veterinary epidemiologists from Greater Horn of Africa (GHoA) on data analysis, risk analysis and risk mapping for transboundary animal diseases.
The following were the specific objectives:
- To improve knowledge on the importance of risk analysis and risk mapping for animal health decision making,
- To equip national epidemiologists with the latest epidemiological and statistical techniques used for analysis of cross-sectional survey data,
- To equip national epidemiologists with the latest epidemiological and statistical techniques used for developing risk maps using cross-sectional survey data,
- To enhance the practical knowledge of regional epidemiologists on how to utilize risk maps for animal health decision making.
- To validate the risk assessment report and use it as a tool for training.
A total of 25 participants from Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania attended the training as well as technical staff from AU-IBAR, ILRI and FAO/ECTAD.
The meeting was officially opened by Director of Animal Resources of Uganda, Dr. Nicholas Kauta who remarked “Accurate data collection and analysis, risk analysis and risk mapping are critical for informed decision making, to inform animal disease control strategies and program; and to attract funding opportunities”. Opening remarks were also made on behalf of the Director of AU-IBAR, Prof. Ahmed El-Sawalhy by Prof. James Wabacha. James said that “the training will improve practical skills among participants to undertake epidemiological/statistical analysis and enable them to effectively analyze the Cross Sectional Survey data that they have collected in their countries”.
Effective disease surveillance is vital in generating data required to guide the formulation of appropriate disease control policies, strategies and programmes as well facilitating livestock trade in the region. Since 2014, AU-IBAR has been assisting countries in the GHoA region to improve understanding of the level of occurrence and risk factors of four (4) TADs namely PPR, CBPP, RVF and FMD. This is being done through generation of data on the distribution of the diseases and associated risk factors in the different countries in the region in order to enable development of risk maps for the diseases that will facilitate the formulation and implementation of effective control strategies. These will include risk-based surveillance strategies and the coordination and harmonization of control interventions at a regional level. To this effect, AU-IBAR with the technical assistance of experts from The Royal Veterinary College, University of London as well as from the IGAD Member States, developed the design of the cross-sectional surveys and data base.
The participants recognized and commended both AU-IBAR and IGAD/ICPALD for the training, and encouraged better coordination of disease surveillance and control initiatives in the region. AU-IBAR and IGAD/ICPALD lauded the commitment of MS towards the effective completion of the cross sectional survey activities in order to generate reliable information for evidence-based decisions to inform animal health policies, strategies and control programs at national and regional levels.