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Launch of the Emerging Pandemic Threats phase 2 (EPT-2) Programme in West and Central Africa

21 West and Central African countries will benefit from the new USAID funded-FAO Programme

Photo: ©FAO/Jeanette Van Acker

9-10 February 2016, Abidjan - The USAID-funded EPT-2 programme launched this week will support 21 countries in West and Central Africa as part of global efforts to combat emerging and or re-emerging high impact infectious diseases, which threaten the African continent. It will also address relations between livestock and livelihoods in terms of reducing negative impacts of the pandemics on sustainable food and nutrition security.

The EPT-2 programme, to be implemented until 2019, is aimed at building and strengthening basic capacity in animal health to detect early and respond rapidly to emerging disease crises threatening animal and human health. The implementation of EPT-2 programme will be aligned with the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), an important global initiative of the US Government.

The FAO component of the EPT-2 programme will support target countries in Africa, Asia and the Near East. The target countries in Africa are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and Togo.

In a two-day meeting aimed at engaging the beneficiary countries, partners and stakeholders in the implementation of the FAO EPT-2 programme in West and Central Africa, the Minister of Animal Resources of Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Kobenan Adjoumani Kouassi, in his opening remarks, emphasized the importance of regional and interdisciplinary collaboration. “All actors agree today, more than ever, and recognize the need for a dense and structured framework for collaboration not only between countries and sub-regions, but also among specialists in animal and human diseases at the national level”, he said.

The primary objectives of the FAO component of the EPT-2 programme are to prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases that have an adverse impact on health (both human and animal), such as Ebola, avian influenza, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome caused by Corona virus (MERS CoV).

The One Health concept in Africa

Dr. Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Africa and Representative to Ghana, who attended the Regional launch along with Ministers from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Liberia and Senegal, and the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy to Côte d’Ivoire, said: “With high level of vulnerability of the livestock sector to risks of emergence of high impact infectious diseases in Africa, there is a need for strengthening capacity of countries on a continuous basis, aimed at building resilience of production and livelihood systems. It is in this context that in October 2015, FAO and the USAID agreed to launch the programme with a view to addressing pandemic threats before they become emergencies. This programme, which will be implemented in collaboration with other EPT-2 partners, will adopt an integrated, multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach using the One Health concept.”

“And, consistent with FAO principles and practices of engagement with its partners, the programme will be implemented with country ownership and leadership and a coordinated and harmonized technical and financial assistance rallying to support the efforts of member countries”, he emphasized.

The USAID EPT-2 Programme is expected to contribute significantly to achieving the objectives of the GHSA of which FAO is a partner and which is now led by more than 50 countries to strengthen the public and animal health sectors globally with the aim to accelerate progress towards securing the world from threats of high impact diseases.

For the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy to Côte d’Ivoire, Andrew Haviland, achieving the program objectives for the Global Health Security is a top priority for the US Government. For this, the US government devotes its human and financial resources to support 30 countries. Through the expansion along existing partnership with USAID, FAO will rapidly increase the number of its staff to participate in strengthening resilience and essential capacity in the Global Health Security Programme in target countries in Africa.

FAO and USAID partnership on controlling animal diseases and managing related human health threats spans over a decade. Since 2004, USAID financial backing for the work now stands at USD 320 million, which has significantly contributed to FAO’s success in addressing the global crisis due to emergency and spread of zoonotic avian influenza through building sustainable capacity in animal health to address high impact emerging and re-emerging zoonoses in many countries of the world.

Under the umbrella of the EPT-2 Programme, FAO with its global partners, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will consolidate efforts to institutionalize the One Health approach at country level.

It will also continue to work closely with the African Union and its specialised agencies, the Regional Economic Communities, Regional support Laboratories, and FAO and OIE Reference Laboratories, in building national and regional capacities to reduce impacts of high impact diseases on public health, food and nutrition security, and sustainable development.

The Abidjan meeting, which takes place a few weeks away from the 29th Session of the FAO regional Conference for Africa (4-8 April 2016, Abidjan), identified opportunities for synergy and functional partnerships amongst key national, regional and international institutions/organizations.

 

Further information :

English http://www.fao.org/3/a-bc532e.pdf

 

Contact:

Liliane.Kambirigi@fao.org

 

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