Animal disease surveillance and control are key functions of national veterinary services and involves a number of stakeholders including other extension staff, Livestock Professional Associations and, private animal health service providers, livestock owners and other organisations including local and international NGOs. Following sustained support from the EU funded Somali PACE, SAHSP I, II and III projects, an animal disease surveillance system based on a functional passive disease reporting system, maintained through partnerships with the Livestock Professional Associations and Epidemiology and Data Management Units (EDMUs) within the Line Ministries is currently in place in Somalia. This has enabled the reporting of animal diseases through a public service disease information system in compliance with international obligations on animal disease reporting. This, coupled with a response capacity for undertaking public good interventions in livestock disease emergencies, provides an essential evidence-based system for protecting animal health. This promotes increased livestock off-take to the domestic and export markets improving the livelihoods of livestock dependent communities in Somalia.
The linkage and coordination of national disease surveillance systems between the different geographic regions of Somalia and with regional and continental initiatives for the surveillance and control of animal diseases is essential for the successful prevention, control and eradication of transboundary animal diseases. Peste des petits ruminants has been identified as a significant threat to livelihoods, food security and the resilience of poor livestock dependent communities that warrants significant investment for its progressive control.
The following activities are being undertaken to strengthen the livestock disease surveillance and control systems.
Activity 1. Review, Improvement and Documentation of Disease Surveillance Systems in Somalia
In order to strengthen livestock disease surveillance and control in Somalia, the RAHS project is supporting the review and documentation of the existing surveillance and control systems with a view to implementing measures to improve their performance, coordination and integration into related on-going and planned initiatives in the IGAD region. The review conducted by a Consultant will be subjected to validation by stakeholders during workshops to be convened in Somaliland, Puntland and Central/South Somalia. A pan-Somali workshop will be convened for representatives of stakeholders the three geographic areas to build consensus and agree on the technical and operational modalities for strengthening linkages and coordination of disease surveillance activities between the actors in the different parts of Somalia.
This activity is led by AU-IBAR.
Activity 2. Strengthen the Capacity for Early Detection, Surveillance, Reporting and Control of Diseases Affecting Pastoral Livelihoods and Resilience
The early detection of diseases supported by an early response capacity is a prerequisite to effective control of animal diseases. Data from surveillance activities are essential for early warning and detection of livestock disease events. The project is providing support for disease surveillance activities including passive surveillance, sentinel surveillance, active surveillance that involves participatory disease searches and disease reporting. The Line Ministries are being supported to carry out disease surveillance activities, investigate reported outbreaks of disease and to collect, analyse and disseminate animal disease data and information. Rapid response teams in Somaliland and Puntland have been trained in outbreak investigation and application of sanitary measures to reduce disease spread. The teams are provided with the necessary equipment, sampling materials, technical and financial support to rapidly undertake investigations of significant disease events, collect appropriate diagnostic specimens and submit them to veterinary laboratories for testing. The project is also facilitating the establishment of six rapid response teams in Central/Southern Somalia through training of personnel and the provision of equipment, logistical and financial support for the teams’ operations. The teams will also be trained in measures for the activation of disease contingency plans developed and validated during the SAHSP II project. This will ensure that disease outbreaks are rapidly investigated and appropriate control measures initiated to minimize losses.
The project also supports a disease surveillance network involving the livestock owners, livestock traders, community animal health workers (CAHWs) and public and private sector veterinarians to enhance understanding of the animal health status in Somalia. Veterinarians and veterinary para-professionals in strategic areas (areas with high livestock populations, border points and other strategic locations along the key livestock marketing chains) serve as disease reporting focal points (DRFP). The project supports them to collect and transmit information on disease outbreaks to the veterinary authorities and the Epidemiology and Data Management Units (EDMUs) for analysis and recommendations for disease control actions. The project is also training up to 50 CAHWs in these areas on disease recognition to facilitate reporting to the DRFPs to enhance early detection and reporting of disease outbreaks.
In addition, the project is providing technical, financial and logistical support for continued Rift valley fever (RVF) sentinel surveillance in selected flocks in the Jowhar area in Central Somalia and in the Nugal Valley in the Puntland State of Somalia. Sentinel surveillance for RVF in these areas was initiated under a previous EU funded project (the Somali Animal Health services Project (SAHSP) to provide early warning data on possible circulation of the RVF virus in the target areas. This will strengthen early warning and response preparedness planning for a key trade-limiting zoonosis that significantly impacts on livestock trade, public health and livelihoods. Preparedness and early warning for dealing with animal disease outbreaks and extreme climatic events can contribute to the resilience of livestock dependent livelihoods.
The project is also supporting the existing countrywide disease reporting networks to compile, analyse and report livestock disease information to AU-IBAR on a monthly basis and to OIE on a six monthly basis.
These activities are led by COOPI and Terra Nuova.
Activity 3. Strengthen Veterinary Laboratory Capacities for Disease Diagnosis
Diagnostic laboratories are an essential component of animal disease surveillance systems. The SAHSP project previously supported the operations of the Ventral Veterinary Laboratories in Hargeisa and Galkaiyo to undertake diagnosis of several trade-limiting animal diseases. Currently, there is no functional central veterinary laboratory serving central and southern Somalia. To enhance the veterinary laboratory diagnostic capacity in Somalia the project is providing support for renovations and equipment of a central laboratory for Central/South Somalia and at least four satellite veterinary laboratories located in strategic areas such as major livestock markets and border points.
The project is also providing equipment, reagents and diagnostic test kits to facilitate early confirmation of trade-limiting animal diseases at the two operational Central Veterinary laboratories. This support will also be provided to enable the laboratories in Central and Southern Somalia to become operational once rehabilitated. Technical, financial and logistical support is also provided for the laboratory staff to undertake disease investigations for collection and testing of diagnostic samples.
The private sector comprising primarily the Livestock Professional Associations and veterinary para-professionals complements the public sector in animal health service delivery. In central and southern Somalia where the formal public sector structures and networks for animal health services delivery are not yet well established, the private sector plays a key role in supporting livestock disease surveillance and disease outbreak investigations. This project is providing technical, financial and logistical support to the Livestock Professional Associations in Central and Southern Somalia, to conduct training and strengthen linkages for supervision and technical back-stopping of community based veterinary paraprofessionals involved in livestock disease surveillance, reporting and control. The project is also providing diagnostic kits, reagents, and equipment to enable them to undertake disease surveillance, diagnosis and reporting under supervision of the Public Veterinary Authority.
In addition, the project will support the participation of field staff involved in disease surveillance and technical staff from veterinary laboratories to participate in meetings of regional laboratory and epidemiological surveillance networks that foster the sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences among peers. The networks provide an opportunity to address transboundary animal diseases and to harmonize approaches for laboratory testing, surveillance and disease control in the Eastern Africa region. This support will also include provisions for the participation of Somali laboratories in regionally agreed quality assurance programmes for standardizing laboratory tests and procedures.
The veterinary laboratories in Somalia currently have limited capacity for carrying out complex disease confirmatory diagnostic techniques. For some diseases, there will be need to carry out diagnostic testing in more advanced laboratories outside Somalia. The project will support linkages with specialized laboratories in the Eastern Africa region for continued assistance to Somali laboratories as may be needed from time to time and meet the costs of shipment and testing of samples from Somalia in international reference laboratories for further analysis.
To ensure that laboratory diagnosis is conducted using recommended standards and good practice the project will provide refresher training for laboratory staff tailored to address gaps in skills and knowledge. The refresher trainings will also be used as a forum to introduce new technologies in diagnostic methodologies.
The activities to strengthen diagnostic laboratory support are led by Terra Nuova.
Activity 4. Develop and Validate Control Strategies for PPR and Other Trade Sensitive Diseases in Coordination with Related AU-IBAR and IGAD Initiatives
Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), is a highly contagious disease of sheep and goats that is targeted for global eradication. The Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs) Global Steering Committee, the FAO Council, the FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) all recommended the development of a Global Strategy for the Control and Eradication of PPR. Subsequently a working group of technical experts jointly established by FAO and OIE under the GF-TADs umbrella, developed a Global Strategy for the Control and Eradication of PPR that was launched in April 2015. The African Union Interafrican Bureau for animal resources (AU-IBAR) and the African Union Pan African Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC) had previously developed a pan African Strategy for the Control and eradication of PPR while the IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) had coordinated the development of PPR control and eradication Strategy for the IGAD region. Following the launch of the Global PPR strategy, AU-IBAR revised the pan African PPR strategy to align it to the Global Strategy. The IGAD strategy will also be revised to align it to the pan African and Global PPR strategies.
This project will provide assistance to the three line Ministries for the development of a PPR control strategy for Somalia that is aligned to the pan African and IGAD PPR Strategies.
This will entail the analysis of available and emerging surveillance data on PPR and other small ruminant diseases for the risk mapping of these diseases. Technical support will then be provided through the engagement of international and national Consultants to develop draft PPR strategies taking into account the epidemiological situations in the different geographical areas. The draft strategies will be subjected to validation by stakeholders through workshops to be convened in Hargeisa, Garowe and Mogadishu.
These activities are led by AU-IBAR.
The project will also publish and disseminate of catalogues, bulletins and information briefs to enhance awareness on the recognition and reporting of common diseases affecting livestock in Somalia. This will contribute to the early detection and response to disease events. Information leaflets and posters with summarised information on the recognition, impact, reporting and control of PPR and other key diseases of small ruminants will also be prepared and distributed. The documents will be translated into the Somali language for ease of understanding by livestock owners.
This activity is led by COOPI.
Activity 5. Support Operations of Veterinary Inspection Posts along Livestock Export Trade Routes
Two previous EU funded projects SOLICEP and LEISOM) coordinated by AU-IBAR strengthened the inspection of animals for the export trade at veterinary inspection points along key livestock export trade routes. This enhanced the number and quality of reports received on a monthly basis from the veterinary inspection posts.
The RAHs project is providing funding and technical support for the rehabilitation and/or construction of twelve veterinary inspection posts in Somaliland (3), Puntland (3), Central Somalia (3) and Southern Somalia (3). The project is also supporting the routine inspection of livestock and reporting operations of 50 staff posted to the veterinary inspection posts by the line ministries.
These activities are led by COOPI.