07 April 2016 - The first national FAO component of the USAID EPT-2 Detailed Implementation Planning (DIP) workshop for Tanzania was organised in Dar es Salaam from 30th – 31st March 2016 in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF). The objectives of the EPT-2 programme are to prevent, detect and respond to zoonotic infectious diseases that have an adverse effect on human and animal health. The DIP followed a national consultation meeting on EPT-2 held in Dar es Salaam on 6 January 2016 and regional launch of the EPT-2 Program for East Africa region that took place in Nairobi, Kenya from 12 – 13th January 2016.
The DIP workshop was attended by 53 participants representing government Ministries (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries; Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism), Disaster Management Department of the Prime Minister’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government Authorities of the President’s Office, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Sokoine University of Agriculture, EPT-2 implementing partners (PREDICT-2, One Health Workforce), Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Tanzania and FAO (Tanzania, ECTAD Nairobi and headquarters).
The objectives of the DIP workshop included the following:
- Discuss and agree on the detailed implementation plan (specific tasks, timelines, etc);
- Discuss and agree on the roles and responsibilities of partners;
- Identify opportunities for synergy and functional partnerships amongst key partners at national level.
The meeting was officially opened by the Honourable Permanent Secretary (PS) for Livestock - MALF, Dr Mary Mashingo, in presence of the FAO Representative in Tanzania, Dr Patrick Otto and the Director of Veterinary Services of Tanzania, Dr Abdu Hayghaimo. In her opening speech, the guest of Honor emphasized on the importance of having such a meeting to discuss issues related to preparedness, detection and response to emerging infectious diseases including Ebola in the context of One Health. Dr Mashigo commended the EPT-2 Program for focusing on mitigating potential negative impacts of Ebola and other high impact zoonoses associated with livestock. The PS implored on the importance of considering the One Health approach without neglecting the animal - human – wildlife interphase. She underscored that although Tanzania has never reported Ebola incidence so far, the relevant services have been making the necessary preparations to evaluate the evolving risk and advise the Government on appropriate measures for preparedness, prevention and response in the likely event of an Ebola outbreak. In this regard, Tanzania has formulated a Viral Hemorrhagic Fever strategic plan and established a national Ebola Viral Disease Taskforce.
Before the official opening speech, the FAO Representative in Tanzania, Dr Patrick Otto delivered FAO’s remarks. He underscored that in order to achieve its long-term goal of achieving food security for all, the work of FAO is guided by five strategic objectives that include among others, the objective to “increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises. He noted that in an effort to realize this strategic objective and address animal health emergencies, FAO has established the Emergency Prevention System for Animal Health (EMPRES-AH) and the Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD). This is in recognition of the fact that the human food chain is continuously threatened by transboundary animal diseases, including the emerging and the re-emerging infectious disease. He mentioned that it was with this background of corporate interest that FAO partnered with the USAID to implement the EPT Program within the overall framework of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).
The workshop participants contributed to the development of work plan through group work and discussions following four technical presentations that were deliberated upon. This enabled the participants to understand the scope of the EPT-2 Program and the different partners and collaborators involved in the implementation of the program. The meeting was constructive as diverse inputs from the different groups ensured ownership of the work-plan and the programme. This would lead to rolling-out of the activities in a coordinated manner.
The two-day DIP workshop enabled to draft a detailed implementation plan for Tanzania component of FAO EPT-2 program and agree up on areas for synergy and collaboration with other partners.
The workshop participants also charted a way forward to enable effective implementation and fast-tracking of planned activities by recommending the following: (i) FAO and MALF to further consolidate the work plan and share with key collaborating partners; (ii) FAO and MALF to immediately develop the national Surveillance Plan in collaboration with PREDICT-2 and OHW; (iii) FAO to provide guidelines on the protocol of the filovirus surveillance including sample size/epidemiological unit, type of samples/target species, sample preservation and storage; (iv) FAO to standardize sample and data collection forms/questionnaires and database for storage and analysis of data and (v) national stakeholders to review and harmonize relevant policies and make use of the national One Health Strategy to operationalize the OH approach.