The Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) Project held a national workshop in Juba from 4th to 5th June 2015 to initiate and promote a community-based grassroot disease reporting system for South Sudan. Its main aim was to enhance passive surveillance of transboundary animal diseases through improving disease recognition coupled with strengthening disease reporting by grassroots livestock stakeholders. The workshop brought together key players from the public and private sector engaged in the delivery of animal health services. Past community-based animal health programmes successfully implemented in South Sudan were reviewed in light of the existing Government structure for delivery of veterinary services. A model community-based grassroot disease reporting system was then proposed. A total of 23 participants drawn from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, State Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries, Wildlife Services, pharmaceutical companies, ICRC, VSF – SUISSE, AU-IBAR and IGAD attended the workshop.
In his remarks, Dr Joseph Magona, on behalf of the Director, AU-IBAR, Prof. Ahmed Elsawalhy, thanked the Government of South Sudan in general and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries in particular in organizing the workshop for creating a community-based grassroot disease reporting system. He noted that transboundary animal diseases (TADs) continue to affect livestock production and trade in the region. There was need therefore to enhance passive surveillance as a means of tackling TADs. He encouraged all livestock stakeholders in South Sudan to participate in disseminating and promoting the use of the syndromic manual in order to improve disease recognition at the grassroots. He reiterated that through such a system, grassroots stakeholders including livestock keepers could send disease reports to community animal health workers, field veterinarians, private vets operating drug shops, and in general the entire disease control system to allow prompt disease response.
In his opening remarks, Dr Aluma Araba, on behalf of the Director General of Veterinary Services for South Sudan, pointed out the importance of the SMP-AH project in supporting the people and the Government of South Sudan in livestock activities. He recognized efforts made by the SMP-AH project in supporting South Sudanese citizens in training on management skills, laboratory diagnostic techniques, disease surveillance and quarantine management. He encouraged all stakeholders to embrace a community-based animal health programme, given past success in South Sudan especially during the eradication of Rinderpest.
Ultimately the meeting recommended the following:
To the Government of the Republic South Sudan (GRSS) and AU-IBAR
- To support community-based disease reporting systems establishment in South Sudan through capacity building, awareness packages and implementation.
- To supply more copies of the field manual of animal diseases by syndrome to stakeholders for easy disease reporting system.
- To provide computers for the ARIS programme and training of staff in ARIS II software to enhance capacity for database management.
- To provide smart phones and train users to strengthen the community-based disease reporting system.
- To hold annual coordination meeting for the disease reporting focal points, NGOs, agencies and AU IBAR to discuss and address issues pertaining to the community-based disease reporting system.
- To establish user friendly formats for disease reporting to be used at all levels/channels. The formats should include the frequencies for the reports as well as emergency response disease reports.
To GRSS, SMARF, AAs
As a way forward, the meeting resolved to implement the SMPs and syndromic manuals and provide feedback on the success and challenges thereafter; organize an annual national workshop and involve development partners and AU-IBAR to share experiences and challenges in implementing community-based disease reporting system at grass root level in South Sudan; for the SMP-AH team to work with the State Ministries of Animal Resources and Fisheries, private sectors, NGOs, and agencies to ensure the implementation of the community-based disease reporting system; to provide SMP-AH syndromic field manuals to stakeholders (CAHWs and Veterinary Officer) to enhance community-based disease reporting system; for SMPAH team to monitor the follow-up on the recommendations; and for the SMP-AH focal person and the Director-General of Veterinary Services to ensure institutionalization of the implementation of the community-based disease reporting system.