GREP in action
The road to global rinderpest eradication required close monitoring and adjustments along the way. The Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP) Technical Consultation and EMPRES Expert Consultation held in Rome in September/October 1998 reviewed the progress made in rinderpest eradication and endorsed the view of the GREP Secretariat that a more vigorous approach was required for global freedom to be attained by the year 2010.
Experts unanimously endorsed the need for an Intensified GREP. This Intensified GREP was designed to complement the existing activities and focus on clarifying any remaining areas of uncertainty and eliminate the last remaining foci of persisting infection in the shortest possible time.FAO had begun addressing the need for rinderpest eradication throughout the world in the late 1940s with mass immunization campaigns. The result of these campaigns and the efforts that followed extended rinderpest control to a point where, as described below, all remaining foci of endemicity are non-existent.
The internationally agreed procedure to verify eradication (the OIE Pathway) commenced with the cessation of rinderpest vaccination once a country was satisfied that it had experienced no clinical rinderpest disease for two years. Many countries that were affected in the 1980s no longer experienced rinderpest and consequently ceased vaccination.
In Africa, for example, the Pan-African Rinderpest Campaign (PARC) strategy was developed in 1986 to enable all countries to declare provisional freedom from rinderpest for either the whole country or for zones of countries in which foci of infection had been eliminated. Similarly for Asia, all countries east of Pakistan were advised to cease vaccination and embark on the OIE Pathway.
As a result of the end of the vaccination campaigns, most of the world's cattle and buffalo population were left completely susceptible to rinderpest. This period of increasing vulnerability was unavoidable if global eradication was to be achieved. The transition period to final eradication required careful management.
Accordingly, the EMPRES Expert Consultation of October 1998 advised that the then continuing presence of a number of rinderpest foci in parts of Africa, West and South Asia could not be regarded simply as matters of national or local concern. Such foci posed a grave risk to the world's cattle population and susceptible wildlife and their prompt and assured elimination called for a concerted international action involving national governments, the donor community, non-governmental organizations and regional and international organizations.
Accordingly GREP mounted an intensified programme to resolve rinderpest persistence in the six areas where the virus was suspected to be present. In this effort, GREP was greatly assisted by FAO's Technical Cooperation programme, as well as the financial assistance from the European Commission and many others.
Partnership with other institutions and all infected and at-risk countries
- OIE: Development of Guidelines, rinderpest Ad Hoc Group meeting participation
- AU-IBAR: Co-chairing and implementing the Somali Ecosystem Rinderpest Coordination Unit project, the Pan African Programme for the Control of Epizootic (PACE),
- NGOs: Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (VSF)/Belgium, Terra Nuova, UNA, Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI) and VSF/Germany: Partnership with these NGOs for the implementation of the Somali Animal Health Service Project phase 2 (SAHSP II)