2. Main challenges
A majority of national veterinary and public health services in Africa are grossly underfunded and weak. In particular, epidemiological surveillance and laboratory diagnostic capacities are wanting and therefore unable to generate reliable and timely information needed for evidence-based advocacy, development of control strategies and decision making on investment options for effective functioning of veterinary services. Furthermore, many of the veterinary services lack early warning and response mechanisms for disease epidemics and other animal health-related emergencies. Even where these are
available, mechanisms for transboundary (regional) collaboration necessary for underpinning TADs control are lacking. The public good nature of prevention and control of TADs calls for collectively agreed, adequately funded, well managed and regionally coordinated approaches. The national systems are also critically isolated from functional networks through which they could access external support and expertise. For a vast majority of the national services, the workforce is aging and/or has insufficient or outmoded skills.
While advances in science and technology have provided some of the needed tools, increased movement of people and goods have facilitated the spread and re-emergence of diseases. These developments strengthen the case for continued engagement by AU-IBAR in TADs, although the changing diseases as well as institutional environments call for a different approach. Specifically,the challenges are how to:
- Design cost-effective and technically sound animal disease control measures.
- Strengthen intra- and inter-regional cooperation.
- Enhance the capacity of RECs and Member States for both national action and for participation in collective efforts. Special attention is needed for countries with special needs or during emergencies, e.g. civil conflicts and disease epidemics.
- Create partnerships that ensure effective synergies, especially with international organizations with key normative roles in developing standards and policies for the prevention, control and eradication of TADs and zoonoses.
- Use the existing scientific knowledge and generate new data to develop systems for anticipating, preventing and controlling changes in the distribution and/or intensity of certain climate change-associated TADs and zoonoses, such as Rift Valley fever (RVF) and other potential disease outbreaks.
- Spearhead and coordinate a continental platform in the context of 'One World One Health' (OWOH)6 in order to address effectively the issue of zoonotic diseases.
- Improve vertical and horizontal coordination of the control of TADs and zoonoses based on mutual reinforcement and the principle of subsidiarity.
- Mobilize domestic and international resources for the control of TADs and zoonoses, including devising acceptable cost-sharing arrangements among the various stakeholders.