The Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal health (SMP-AH) project held a workshop in Addis Ababa from 16th -18th February 2015 to review the progress made in the implementation of the project in 2014, discuss challenges experienced and generate solutions for efficient and effective implementation of activities during 2015. The meeting was attended by a total of 24 participants drawn from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Africa Union African Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC), Kenya Veterinary Vaccines and Production Institute (KEVEVAPI), National Veterinary Vaccine Institute (NVI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
In his welcome remarks, Dr. James Wabacha on behalf of the Director, AU-IBAR – Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy – acknowledged the importance of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) in the region and their negative impact on livestock production and trade. He appreciated efforts made by the SMP-AH project in addressing challenges resulting from TADs in the region. He recognized that the SMP-AH project had so far developed the Standard Methods and Procedures (SMPs) for nine priority diseases in addition to supporting training programmes, vaccine production laboratories, country activities as well as the North Eastern Africa Livestock Council (NEALCO), a regional commodity association. In addition, the SMP-AH project is supporting Livestock identification and traceability (LITs) activities. In his opening remarks, Dr Ameha Sebsibe, the representative for ICPALD/IGAD, reiterated the need to critically review progress and consider past lessons in the planning. He further noted the need to consider mainstreaming SMPs in the plans for 2015. Mr Walter Ong'eng'a, the representative for USAID, emphasized the importance of ensuring that project activities achieve impact among primary beneficiaries (livestock keepers) in the region. He reiterated the need to always have the end results in mind in order to implement relevant activities that will create impact on beneficiaries. To achieve the desired impacts, AU-IBAR, participating countries and other stakeholders had to identify relevant activities, indicators set for impacts, set targets and monitor the same throughout the project life cycle. This, he said, would ensure that activities focus on achieving expected results. The success of harmonization of SMPs would only be realized if all participating countries demonstrated their willingness to implement them. Finally, the meeting was officially opened by Dr Samuel Mullat, on behalf of Dr Bewket Siraw, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Ethiopia. He noted that TADs are some of the main determinants for food security given that they reduce production. He noted that TADs have remained important challenges in the region. He therefore thanked the SMP-AH project for developing expertise to contribute to cost-effective reduction of TADs, improve livelihoods, and trade. He acknowledged the spirit of harmonization of disease surveillance and control to improve trade as fostered through the SMPs. This, he said, would help create confidence among importers of livestock and livestock products from the region.
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 success story of the ongoing implementation of the Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) project in the Greater Horn of Africa prompted the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to invite AU-IBAR to participate in the Regional Workshop for the development of an SMP-AH Programme for the SADC Region, held on 9-11 September 2014, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The SADC region wished to learn lessons from AU-IBAR in the development of the SADC SMP-AH programme-an issue conceived during the SADC Livestock Technical Committee (LTC) Meeting that was held in Botswana from 10-12 June 2014.
The main objective of the workshop was to develop a SADC SMP-AH programme with a view to addressing identified gaps and needs in Departments of Veterinary Services regarding the promotion of stable regional and international trade in livestock and livestock products.
- Stakeholders from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya meet to harmonize coordination of veterinary activities in cross-border areas within the Somali Ecosystem
- Stakeholders from South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda meet on regional and ecosystem harmonization and coordination of veterinary activities in cross-border areas
- SMP-AH Kick-Starts Country Activities In South Sudan
- New regional livestock association (NEALCO) to promote trade in livestock and livestock products in IGAD , COMESA and EAC