The main lesson from past interventions addressing drought and other climatic shocks in the region is that investing in resilience proves to be cost effective. Addressing the root causes of recurrent crises is not only better than only responding to the consequences of crises, it is also much cheaper.
Past interventions of AU-IBAR have laid the foundation for animal disease surveillance and control, animal health inspection and certification, and promotion of marketing of livestock and livestock products on the continent. AU-IBAR and partners have implemented a number of projects in the past. Lessons were learnt during the implementation of these past projects and programmes that have informed the development of animal disease surveillance and control strategies as well as the improvement of disease surveillance and control across the continent, which include among others: The use of novel epidemio-surveillance methods (risk-based and syndromic surveillance systems) which was in particular a key recommendation of the SERECU exit strategy.
- A regional coordination and ecosystem approach is essential for successful control of TADs as was successfully implemented for the EU-funded AU-IBAR/SERECU project for the final eradication of rinderpest from the Somali ecosystem.
- Epidemiological targeting of surveillance and control activities to increase the impact of interventions and facilitated harmonization and coordination.
- The use of Participatory Disease Search (PDS) in animal health delivery played an important role in disease control and surveillance efforts.
- Use of non-government organizations (NGOs) can enhance the implementation of animal health interventions in remote and conflict prone areas.
- The use of effective and safe vaccines (quality assured by AU-PANVAC) is critical for successful control and eradication of diseases.
- There is need for allocation of national funds to ensure sustainability of surveillance activities.
- Political good will, support and sustained funding by member states and development partners were critical for the eradication of rinderpest.
- Wildlife play an important role in the epidemiology of TADs and zoonoses and the success of disease surveillance and control is enhanced through their integration in the surveillance and control of TADs and zoonoses.
- Sustained structured dialogue between the Horn of Africa countries and trading partners is necessary to create trust and confidence and therefore stabilize livestock trade. The use of a certification system that combines live animal inspection and certification at border points, primary and secondary markets (upstream/pre-quarantine inspection and certification) and quarantines inspection and certification (downstream) provides added value through the continuous control of trade-limiting diseases.
- Animal health interventions in pastoral areas and strategically-located marketing infrastructure play a key role in supporting livelihoods and food security at the household level.
The project will also build on the gains and experiences of projects which have been implemented by IGAD and they include the IGAD Livestock Policy Initiative (IGAD LPI), the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) and the IGAD Livestock Information System.
The lessons learned from these initiatives are:
- A regional livestock policy framework forms a strong basis for revising member states' surveillance and control policies to stimulate and sustain growth and regional integration.
- The IGAD livestock policy hubs and information nodes serve as key entry points in the implementation of disease surveillance and control in member states, especially creating linkages with target groups and stakeholders.
- Downscaling and repackaging of climate prediction products provide useful decision support tools for disease prediction to trigger early detection and response.
- Institutionalization of data and information collection and analysis into national systems is important for sustainability of initiatives beyond lifespans of projects.
In conclusion, the STSD will build on achievements learned from past and on-going regional and national projects and the lessons learnt thereof in order to improve surveillance of trade-related diseases and achieve its set objectives.