National and regional level capacity for prevention and control of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) remains a challenge in the Greater Horn of Africa. The SMP-AH Project is addressing this as well as inadequate coordination and harmonization of TADs prevention and control at regional level. The SMP-AH Project held its 4th Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting back-to-back with the 2nd PSC meeting for the Surveillance in Trade Sensitive Diseases (STSD) at Fish Eagle Inn, Naivasha, Kenya from 4th to 5th December 2014. The meeting objective was to guide and direct activity implementation in order to achieve the desired project goal and to facilitate synergy and complementary between the two animal health projects being implemented in the region.
Key stakeholders involved in the surveillance, prevention and control of trade-related TADs and trade in livestock and livestock products, including AU-IBAR and its partner organisations, such as IGAD, USAID, OIE, FAO and ILRI were fully represented. In addition, the Livestock Traders' Association, North Eastern African Livestock Council (NEALCO) and member states, including, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda were represented. In his welcome remarks, Dr. Baba Soumare, The Chief Animal Health Officer, AU-IBAR, emphasized the importance of the SMP-AH project as a backbone of the livestock industry in the region and stressed the need to observe standards in animal health and trade in livestock and livestock products. Mr Isaac Thendiu, the representative of USAID reiterated USAID commitment to supporting livestock in the Greater Horn of Africa, given the enormous challenges facing the livestock industry in the region. Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, Director, AU-IBAR acknowledged the huge animal resource and enterprising people in the Greater Horn of Africa. He, however, noted that the potential of the livestock sector in contributing to food and nutrition security, job creation and socio-economic development has not been fully tapped due to several constraints such as challenges in the policy environment, recurrent droughts and TADs. In his opening remarks, Dr Thomas Dulu, Deputy Director of Veterinary Services of Kenya, thanked AU-IBAR for selecting Kenya to host the meeting. He recalled the historical significance of Naivasha as a place where the first case of Rift Valley Fever was confirmed. Rift Valley Fever still constitutes an important transboundary disease addressed by the SMP-AH project. He noted that Kenya Government was grateful to the project for the capacity building, training, equipment and manuals on the Standard Methods and Procedures for the control of the targeted TADs.
The guidance of the Steering Committee to the SMP-AH project was commended for having led to significant progress. Among the key activities accomplished during the review period were: Validation and dissemination of four Standard Methods and Procedures for the control of FMD, PPR, Brucellosis and Rift Valley Fever; Laboratory training of 24 veterinary personnel at the National Animal Health and Diagnostic Investigation Centre (NAHDIC), Ethiopia; Implementation of country activities and cross-border meetings; and Validation of the Strategic plan for the North Eastern Africa Livestock Council (NEALCO). Dr Thomas Dulu called upon members of the Steering Committee to provide ideas and suggestions to guide the project in effectively and efficiently achieving expected results for stakeholders. Finally, he thanked the Director of Veterinary Services of Kenya for hosting the meeting, USAID for its financial support to the project and the Project Steering Committee for their commitment and willingness to work with AU-IBAR.
The Meeting finally recommended the following:
- That member states mainstream the SMPs into their national animal health programmes. To effect this, CVOs shall issue the necessary instrument (circular) to all stakeholders dealing with animal health;
- That estimation of costs for operationalization and implementation of SMPs be undertaken to inform allocation of the necessary resources for their implementation post SMP-AH and thus ensure a sustainable uptake of SMPs ;
- That a review and planning meeting be held by mid-January 2015 to fast-track implementation of national activities;
- That ILRI requests for an extension to finalize LITs pilot studies, i.e. the risk assessments along the Borena-Nazareth-Djibouti trade route, the Karamoja pilot study and data analysis for data collected during LITS piloting in Kenya-Tanzania livestock corridor. The project implementing partners will also revise the current Terms of Reference in order to fast-track the tasks;
- That considering the lessons learnt and to fast-track country activities, AU-IBAR channels financial support for national activities as per its procedures and arrangements;
- That the Secretariat be strengthened in order to enhance and strengthen NEALCO and facilitate its membership drive and partnership;
- That IGAD Secretariat engages Member States and supports development of MoUs in order to strengthen and concretize the ongoing cross-border activities;
- That communication and visibility of the Projects, SMP-AH and STSD be enhanced;
- That for proper planning of activities, the meetings for SMP-AH and STSD be rationalized.
Ultimately, members agreed that the 5th SMP-AH Steering Committee Meeting together with the 3rd STSD Steering Committee Meeting be held in Ethiopia by the first half of June 2015.