Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is one of the most devastating diseases of small ruminants in Africa. It is described as the most destructive viral disease and the number one constraint affecting and limiting the most valuable productive assets of African pastoralists in general and the poor and rural smallholder livestock producers in particular. The disease has been reported from many parts of sub-Saharan Africa for several decades as well as in the Middle East and Southern Asia since 1989. In Africa, PPR is endemic in most of the African countries, and it constitutes the main constraint to small ruminant production. It is therefore a constant threat to the livelihoods of the poor. Over the last ten years, the disease has spread rapidly from its traditional endemic areas in West Africa through East Africa into the southern and northern regions of the continent.
AU-IBAR and six Regional Economic Communities (EAC, IGAD, COMESA, ECCAS, UMA and SADC) met from 14th-15th October 2016 at Naura Springs Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania to review the Panafrican PPR Prevention, Control and Eradication Program developed in 2013 and align it to the draft global PPR Control and Eradication program recently developed by the FAO-OIE PPR Global Secretariat in consultation with stakeholders. The proposed programme will be a five year Action Plan (2017 -2021) to initiate the implementation of the 15 year Pan-african PPR Strategy.
Recognizing the ongoing efforts and initiatives in some Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and countries to develop strategies and programmes for the control of PPR and other priority small ruminant diseases, the proposed Pan African programme will address the alignment/harmonization, coordination and consolidation of a Panafrican approach to halt the current aggressive expansion of PPR. Immediate actions will aim at protectig the remaining PPR-free countries in northern and southern Africa while developing epidemiologically targeted control and eradication programmes for the countries where PPR is currently endemic.
The expected outcome of the programme will be a reduction in the incidence and prevalence of PPR in Africa within the shortest possible time to lay a solid foundation for its phased eradication through subsequent programmes that will consolidate and build on the achievements of the 2017-2021 programme.
In addition to the interventions towards the eradication of PPR, the program will contribute to the strengthening of the veterinary services of African countries by revitalizing the national animal disease surveillance systems (NADSS), reinforcing the national and regional laboratory diagnostic and vaccine production and delivery capacities. The African Union Panafrican Vaccine Center (AU-PANVAC) will be strengthened to play its key role in vaccine quality certification to ensure that only good quality PPR vaccines are used in the Pan-African PPR programme. Interventions to control other diseases of small ruminants will also be carried out based on the priorities of the differtent regions and Member States.
In addition, the program envisages the establishment of a PPR continental secretariat at AU-IBAR and regional secretariats in the five (5) geographical regions of Africa (Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western) to ensure effective coordination at national, regional and continental levels.
AU-IBAR, AU-PANVAC and the RECs will enlist the support of technical partners (FAO, OIE) in efforts to mobilize resources and galvanize political support for implementation of the programme.