In a bid to regionally harmonize the differing and sometimes conflicting animal health regulations in countries in the Greater Horn of Africa, namely, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, the Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMPAH) project has developed Standard Methods and Procedures (SMPs) - guidelines for the prevention and control of nine priority trans-boundary diseases. Accordingly, a workshop was held at Naivasha from 23rd to 25th March 2015 with the main objective of enriching and validating SMPs for Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP), Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), Sheep and Goat Pox (SGP), Camelpox (CP), Rinderpest (RP) and one for Export Quarantines. A total of 31 participants drawn from Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), African Union Pan African Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC), IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), FAO and ILRI attended the meeting.
In his welcome remarks, Dr. James Wabacha on behalf of the Director, AU-IBAR – Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, highlighted the project's achievements for the year 2014, noting that four SMPs for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), Rift Valley Fever (RVF) and Brucellosis had already been validated and published and were ready for dissemination. He thanked IGAD/ICPAD, OIE, FAO, ILRI, AU-PANVAC and MS for their continued support and commitment to the project implementation, and USAID for its financial support. He attributed the success of the project to the collective responsibility of all players in the project and cautioned participants to ensure that they roll-out validated SMPs to fit in their country's specific needs. In addition, participants were informed about the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA) -a twenty-year strategy spearheaded by AU-IBAR and other technical offices of the African Union Commission (AUC). He noted that the strategy was developed in a bid to address existing gaps in the exploitation of the existing livestock potential in Africa. Hence LiDeSA was developed to help transform the livestock sector in Africa.
In his opening remarks, Dr Ameha Sebsibe, the representative for ICPALD/IGAD, highlighted the fact that the SMPs were a product of earlier commitment and input by member states (MS). He pointed out the need to provide a feedback mechanism on the progress of the implementation of SMPs during their roll-out. He further noted that it was important to chart out a road map, defining clearly which SMPs take precedence in which country as SMPs are mainstreamed in respective countries.
In his official opening, Dr Thomas Dulu, representing Kenya Government, highlighted the fact livestock diseases are one of the main causes for low performance of the livestock sector in the IGAD region, noting that diseases significantly lower the production and quality of animal products, consequently leading to reduced household income and food insecurity and low household nutrition. Emphasizing that "the aim of SMP approach is to guide and harmonise the work of Departments of Veterinary Services (DVSs) in the Greater Horn of Africa (GHoA) region in their approach to the control of trade-related Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs)", Dr Dulu further acknowledged that SMP AH project had developed SMPs for the identified priority diseases in the region. SMPs, he said, would give the region a competitive advantage in trade in livestock and livestock products.
Participants reviewed all the seven SMPs and suggested corrections in relevant areas. In addition, the meeting deliberated on the need to initiate a quarantine network. At the closure of the workshop, over 1400 copies of FMD, PPR, RVF and brucellosis SMPs were distributed to workshops participants. As a way forward, it was agreed that validated SMPs be finalized by 24th April, published by May, and disseminated by June ready for roll-out by the member states. The quarantine network is to be launched in Berbera, Somaliland by July 2015.
Finally, the meeting recommended the following:
To Member States
- To roll-out ready SMPs for FMD, RVF, PPR and Brucellosis immediately
- To provide an opportunity in future for feed-back on the progress and challenges on SMPs implementation to AU-IBAR and ICPALD
- Plan and report back on rolling of other SMPs
- In the context of the Rinderpest SMPs, MS are urged to transfer all Rinderpest-related biological materials to AU-PANVAC
- To assess the cost of implementing SMPs
- To circulate the revised version to the participants
- To expedite final publishing of the validated SMPs
- To provide guidelines, including a format for zero reporting for Rinderpest and for disease notification
- To create a feedback module within ARIS 2
- To assess the functionality and application of ARIS2 in the region and reinforce development of skills on its use in the MSs
- To fast-track the development of SOPs for the region
To AU-IBAR and ICPALD
- In collaboration with the export quarantines and respective CVOs, to work on establishment and operationalization of the export quarantine network
- In collaboration with the export quarantines and respective CVOs, to enhance rolling out the SMP quarantine and improve partnership between the regulatory bodies and export quarantine management
- To produce, standardize and validate reagents for the diagnosis of Camelpox