Since 2001, animal health-related interventions in Somalia have focused on building the capacity of both public and private sector institutions to deliver and regulate animal health services in order to enhance sustainable livestock production and trade. As a result of the past interventions, there are currently operational line Ministries responsible for livestock development in Somaliland and Puntland although the outreach of animal health services delivery to remote pastoral areas remains weak due to insufficient public sector infrastructure, personnel and financial resources. The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) has also established the Ministry of livestock, forestry and Range with responsibility for livestock development. However, the prevailing insecurity in most parts of Central and Southern Somalia has made it difficult for the FGS to establish an effective network of public sector institutions to improve the quality and delivery of animal health services in the different regions and districts. The three line Ministries lack sufficient financial resources to implement the core activities expected of them. This is compounded by the inadequate policies, strategies and legal and regulatory frameworks to guide and support their operations. The enforcement of existing laws and regulations governing the livestock sector in Somaliland and Puntland is weak although Veterinary Boards have been established to strengthen this aspect in relation to the delivery of animal health services. For the FGS, the enactment of laws governing the Livestock sector remains at a lower level of priority compared to other governance imperatives demanded by the prevailing socio-political conditions.
In all the target areas, the line Ministries work closely with the privately operated Livestock Professional Associations. This strengthens the overall capacity for delivery of animal health services particularly in areas where the public sector has limited outreach due to insufficient human resources or insecurity. This relationship needs to be strengthened to optimize the delivery of animal health services.
The maintenance of functional livestock disease surveillance and control systems is key to ensuring the continuity of the Somali livestock export trade that is commercially export oriented. This supports compliance with sanitary measures recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and those requested by trading partners in order to assure the sanitary safety of trade in live animals and animal products. Transparency in disease reporting is a key aspect of this compliance and an effective surveillance system provides the data and information to support this. The surveillance system that is currently in place in Somalia was initially developed to support the rinderpest eradication process. The system was eventually expanded to include other trade sensitive diseases particularly peste des petits ruminants (PPR) Rift Valley fever (RVF), foot and mouth disease (FMD), contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and sheep and goat pox. The system has enabled Somalia to meet the requirements for reporting diseases to AU-IBAR on a monthly basis and to OIE on a six-monthly basis. Following the eradication of rinderpest in 2010, the system now focuses more on providing data and information to support the export trade of livestock. However, there are no formal linkages between the different Veterinary authorities in Somalia to facilitate information sharing and the coordination of interventions for effective disease control. Similarly, linkages between Somali and the neighbouring countries for purposes of livestock disease surveillance and control are weak. The disease surveillance and control systems in Somalia thus need to be further strengthened and linked to related initiatives in the IGAD region to ensure that Somalia contributes to the regional approaches for the control of transboundary animal diseases in the IGAD region.
The Somali public and private institutions have the necessary human resources to respond to disease outbreak situations. However they lack the financial resources to mobilize appropriate responses to contain the spread of diseases in a timely manner. This has often served as a disincentive to disease reporting by affected communities.
This project is supporting continued community sensitization and awareness programmes on disease recognition, reporting and prevention through different media as was carried out in previous EU funded interventions (Somali PACE Project, SAHSP I, II and III and LEISOM). The project is also strengthening linkages and interactions between the line Ministries, the Livestock Professional Associations and the pastoralist communities by supporting the line Ministries and the Associations to convene regular fora and develop community outreach programmes in selected pastoral areas. These programmes should enhance community empowerment and stimulate their demand for the delivery of quality animal health services.