Representatives of the IGAD Member States expressed their commitment to rollout continuous awareness programmes in their respective countries to accelerate the establishment and implementation of national Animal Disease Surveillance and Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS).
At a regional awareness and message validation workshop, held on August 13th and 14th, 2015 at AU-IBAR, Nairobi, Kenya, National Focal Points of the STSD Project and Communication Experts from the IGAD Member States expressed their readiness to create awareness on the fact that disease surveillance and LITS are the critical factors to enhance regional trade and maximise livelihoods services. They reiterated that the awareness and sensitisation programmes are instrumental to bring policy makers and the grassroots on board to ensure utmost support and coordination in the implementations of the systems.
Highlighting the vital role the awareness porogarmme constitutes in the STSD Project, Professor Ahmed Elsawalhy, Director of AU-IBAR, underscored that the support and cooperation of all stakeholders are critical to achieve a robust disease reporting and animal identification and traceability systems in the IGAD Member States. To realise this, Professor Elsawalhy noted, a targeted awareness programme to these stakeholders is vital during project implementation.
The Director of AU-IBAR, Professor Ahmed El-Sawalhy, iterated AU-IBAR’s commitments towards ensuring IGAD Member States acquire robust strategies and systems to adequately establish and implement animal disease surveillance and reporting mechanisms.
The Director made this remark during an event, which was organized by STSD Project to hand-over a four – wheel Toyota Double Cabin to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of the Republic of Kenya on July 21, 2015 at AU-IBAR premises. In his note, Professor El-Sawalhy indicated that in addition to technical supports, AU-IBAR strengthens the logistical capacities of countries through provision of cars and motorcycles to make sure that they conduct rigorous disease surveillance and reporting.
Thanking AU-IBAR for its uninterrupted support, H.E. Professor Fred Segor, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, indicated that AU-IBAR has been instrumental in their effort to contain trans-boundary animal diseases and in their fight against major animal disease outbreaks. Recognizing the importance of the STSD Project in enhancing disease surveillance and reporting in Kenya, Professor Segor indicated that the donated vehicle and motor bicycles would be efficiently used to serve the project purpose. Dr. Kisa Juma, CVO in the Ministry, Dr Salome Wanyoike, National Focal Point of STSD for Kenya and Dr. Zelalem Tadesse from AU-IBAR, attended the hand-over ceremony.
The 3rd Steering Committee Meeting, which evaluated the progress reports of the "Improving Animal Disease Surveillance in Support of Trade in IGAD Member States or "Surveillance of Trade-Sensitive Diseases (STSD)", Project underscored the need for speeding up the implementation of national activities in the area of disease surveillance and reporting (DR), as well as piloting of the livestock identification and traceability systems (LITS).
Commending the progresses made by the Project in the past six months, the Meeting, held on the 26th June, 2015, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has also recommended other important issues, ranging from capacity building to extension of the project’s life span. These include the following:
- Project’s capacity development activities to incorporate trainings on data analysis and outbreak investigation; as well as upgrading the skills of regional export quarantine personnel into operators of modern laboratory;
- The project to encourage member states to use the data and information generated through the cross-sectional surveys in order for them comply with OIE’s terms and conditions, which is set for official endorsement of control of PPR, FMD and CBPP;
- AU-IBAR and ICPALD to enhance collaboration and coordination with on-going regional and national projects addressing LITS and disease control;
- The Project to periodically review the DR and LITS guidelines by taking emerging issues into account; and
- The project to request a no-cost extension by 12 months, as the core activities of the project have not been covered as per the project plan due to the delay in the procurement and delivery of inputs.