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  • Meeting in the Zonal Veterinary Centre (ZVC) and the Zonal Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency (TVLA) in Dodoma
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  • Meeting at the Tanzanian Department Veterinary Services (DVS) headquarters in Dodoma
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  • Participants of the Stakeholders Meeting Representing the Department of Veterinary Services, TVLA and One Health Coordination Unit, 21st June, FAO Representation, Dar es Salaam

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Piloting mission in Tanzania to evaluate surveillance capacity and performance

FAO Surveillance evaluation tool (SET)

11 July 2017. A standardized evaluation tool (SET) for animal health surveillance capacity and performance has been developed by FAO and is currently being piloted in Africa. The tool is largely adapted from OASIS, a tool developed by Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l’Alimentation, de l’Environnement et du Travail (ANSES, France), available at https://www.plateforme-esa.fr/outils-et-methodes-methodes-oasis. SET allows for a comprehensive baseline evaluation of national animal health surveillance systems, the output being recommendations on tangible actions that can be initiated at country level to achieve realistic goals. The first piloting mission was organized by FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) and The Emergency Prevention System for Animal Health (EMPRES) in Headquarter, Rome, in Tanzania from 12 to 21 June 2017, supported by funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).

 

A multidisciplinary evaluation team was set up to cover all aspects of a surveillance system, both from epidemiological and laboratory diagnostic perspective. For a representative and comprehensive overview of the Tanzanian animal health surveillance system, interviews were held with relevant stakeholders at the national, subnational and field level. Field visits were conducted to discuss animal health reporting with livestock owners, abattoir and, livestock market personnel, and the private sector in the regions of Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Arusha and Zanzibar.

 

“The SET must be applied in a participatory approach. To achieve a 360 degree evaluation, input is required from a variety of stakeholders at all levels of the system” says Dr. Magalie Ruiz, epidemiologist for EMPRES at FAO headquarters. “The tool was received with great interest by all stakeholders met and we thank everyone for the support provided and the time taken to answer our many questions”.

 

After five days of interviews and field visits, a scoring session was held in Dar es Salaam according to the SET methodology, during which each area of the surveillance system (e.g., institutional organization, laboratory component, surveillances methods and activities, workforce capacities, training, data management, etc.) was qualitatively evaluated using a scoring scale (1 to 4). Outputs were presented to key stakeholders from the Department of Veterinary Services and the Veterinary Laboratory Agency.

 

“The SET is a comprehensive and user-friendly tool to assess animal health surveillance systems” confirms Dr. Zelalem Tadesse, ECTAD Country Team Leader in Tanzania, “Following the scoring exercise, clear outputs are automatically generated by the tool to visualize strengths and weaknesses of the system. We found SET to be very useful in identifying immediate, medium- and long-term actions that will ensure gradual improvement of the system in the country”.

 

As part of this first pilot, questionnaires were filled by the stakeholders interviewed in order to collect their feedback on the evaluation mission and the Surveillance Evaluation Tool SET itself. This will help FAO to fine-tune the tool and improve the planning of future missions. A second pilot is planned to take place in Liberia at the end of August 2017. Dr Sam Okuthe, ECTAD Regional Epidemiologist for Eastern Africa, emphasizes the importance of the tool at regional level: “Different evaluations have been performed in different countries of the East African region in the past, with varying detail and output formats. This has made comparison difficult. SET will allow FAO to plan targeted country assistance and, at the same time, streamline regional capacity building efforts”.

 

Stakeholders of Tanzania’s animal health surveillance system reiterated the usefulness of the SET for mapping out the strengths and weaknesses of the system in order to guide systematic allocation of resources and capacity building interventions. After listening to the findings of the SET through the pilot exercise, the Director of the Department of Veterinary Services, Dr Abdu Hayghaimo and the FAO Representative to Tanzania, Mr Fred Kafeero, underscored the need for further support to strengthen the animal health surveillance system in the country.

 

Once finalized, the SET will be rolled out under the EPT-2 project in another 10 East, West and Central African countries and made available globally.

 

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