05 May 2016 - The first national FAO work planning meetings in West Africa for the FAO Component of the EPT-2 were held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and Conakry, Guinea. These meetings marked the first in a series of country-level engagements in the West and Central Africa sub-regions in which specific activities were planned and outlined for the period March to September, 2016.
The USAID EPT-2 programme, to be implemented until 2019, aims at building and strengthening basic capacity in animal health to detect early and rapidly respond to emerging disease crises threatening animal or human health. Implementation will be aligned with the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), an important global initiative of the US Government, led by over 50 countries in the world contributing to strengthening the public and animal health capacities to detect and respond to any emerging pandemic threats.The primary objectives of the FAO component of EPT-2, a programme aimed at preventing, detecting and responding to infectious diseases that have an adverse impact on health sectors (both human and animal), such as Ebola, avian influenza, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome caused by Corona virus (MERS-CoV).
The participants of the meetings validated activities involving Ebola virus surveillance in domestic animal populations, strengthening laboratory diagnostic capacities, and the mapping of farming systems and value chain sectors. The two-day meeting enabled the participants in planning activities to be conducted in their respective countries (Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Guinea) related to surveillance in domestic livestock, value chain and production systems characterization, laboratory support, human behavioural studies, risk assessment, and risk mitigation interventions. Targeting Ebola surveillance at the wildlife-domestic animal interface is key for improving our understanding of the potential role of livestock in the transmission of this deadly virus. Therefore, participation of animal health, public health, and environmental sectors was key to the success of these meetings. Thanks to close collaboration among these three areas, Guinea is able to draw upon a wealth of experience and wisdom when it comes to addressing Ebola in communities. Dr. Seny Mane, the Director of the National Veterinary Services in Guinea, explained: “Timely preparation and sensitization of communities for sampling their domestic animals for Ebola testing will be crucial for the success of the project”.
In Ouagadougou, the meeting was opened Dr Lassina Ouattara, the Chief Veterinary Officer of Burkina Faso on behalf of the Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries. In Conakry, the meeting was opened by Mr. Mohamed Tall, the Minister of Livestock and Animal Productions for Guinea. The meetings were attended by representatives from different sectors of the government, including Veterinary Services, Livestock Production, Wildlife, Water and Forests, Health, and Environment. FAO staff in attendance were from the country office, FAO’s West Africa regional office Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), as well as from headquarters.
The meetings were considered successful by all involved. “The participants from all three countries were completely engaged in the task, and Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and Guinea each have clear work plans specific to their context. Thanks to their dedication, we can swiftly move forward with the implementation”, said Charles Bebay, the Regional ECTAD Manager for West and Central Africa.