07 July 2016 - The USAID-funded Emerging Pandemic Threats Programme (EPT-2), whose implementation runs from 2015 to 2019 represents part of the US Government’s investment into the country-led Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). The GHSA seeks to secure the world from biological risks/hazards by accelerating progress in countries towards putting in place robust systems to prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases that have potential to occur as pandemics and also to curb the threat of antimicrobial resistance.
The FAO component of the USAID EPT-2 program in Uganda is supporting surveillance of Ebola and other filoviruses in livestock. In order to design and implement risk-based surveillance and risk mitigation measures, it’s imperative to better understand the wildlife-human interfaces within which the risk of pathogen emergence, spillover and spread is high. Livestock system characterization, value chain and social network analysis are some of the approaches to be used.
FAO-ECTAD Uganda, with technical support from ECTAD East Africa Regional Office in Nairobi, organized a training workshop addressing the three thematic areas. An expert from P&R Office in Uganda also joined the rank. A total of 30 participants, drawn mainly from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), both from Central and district local governments, participated in the training workshop. The local government participants were mainly from the regions targeted for the Ebola- Filiovirus project and included Central, Western, Northern, West Nile and Karamoja. Other participants were drawn from College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) of Makerere University, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) and Uganda Meat Producers and Cooperative Union (UMPCU).
Dr Rose Ademun, representative of the Director Animal Resources of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, has officially opened the workshop. Mr. Alhaji M. Jallow FAO representative in Uganda, also made a brief work the G of Uganda (GoU) need to implement standard measures based on the outputs of Production systems and Value Chain Analysis at every level that will enhance disease surveillance and control.
The main objective of the training was to sensitize animal health and production experts on the need for system characterization in risk based disease surveillance and risk mitigation. The system characterization approaches focused on (i) value chain analysis (ii) livestock production system characterization (iii) social network analysis. Plenary presentations and group exercises allowed participants to apply the knowledge gained to map hypothetical and real value chains, production systems and social networks.
During the value chains analysis session, topics covered included (i) definition of a value chain as a set of agents, with related activities and markets, who contribute directly to the production, transformation and distribution to final markets of a single product. (ii) types of livestock value chains based on livestock products produced such as dairy, beef, pork, eggs, etc., and (iii) different domains from which value chains analysis is undertaken that include animal health perspective. The animal health domain, which is of interest to EPT-2 was elaborated more to the participants in terms of questions asked, data required and methodologies used for data collection.
The livestock production systems training focused on global classification and traditional methods used in countries as well as the rationale for system characterization. Two participants presented two case studies on the dairy and pig production systems in Uganda. Social network analysis was described as tool for mapping links between nodes such as farmers and markets. The social network analysis was jointly facilitated by the FAO and P&R experts
In group discussions, the participants applied the knowledge gained to map the Uganda pig value chain in Masaka district and its linkages to other districts in the country and across the border in Kenya. They used data elicited to understand how African swine fever would spread within Uganda and across to Kenya. They also identified the critical control points.
The participants also characterized the pig production system in the different regions in the country and how they interfaced with wildlife. The information generated will be used to enrich the on-going reports on characterization of pig production system in Uganda. Further, participants were able to create socio network socio-grams.
At the end of the workshop, the trainees recommended the following:
- That they be allowed to utilize the knowledge gained through participating in the implementation of EPT 2 system characterization activities, such as fields studies and validation of study reports.
- To apply value chain analysis and production systems approaches while undertaking routine animal disease surveillance and control measures.
- Include more wildlife personnel and One Health presentations in future trainings.