The CVO (or equivalent, such as a Director of Veterinary Services) of the country should have the overall technical responsibility for preparedness and management of CBPP emergencies. The appropriate government Minister would of course be ultimately responsible.
In recent years, the national veterinary services of many countries have been re-structured and rationalized. This has included inter alia regionalization and devolution of veterinary services; privatization of veterinary services, or downgrading of government services; separation of policy functions from operational functions; and separation of administrative responsibilities of veterinary laboratories and veterinary field services.
These new structures have evolved to best meet the demands of delivering routine animal health services. However, they are often not well suited for managing a major animal health emergency, such as a CBPP eradication campaign. In such an emergency, there is a need to make decisions rapidly, based on analysis of the best information that can be made available from all sources; have the capacity to convert those decisions into clear orders that can be conveyed down the chain to those charged with the responsibility of carrying them out; and the ability to know that orders have been carried out and with what results. Therefore there must be efficient mechanisms in place for transmission of information and instructions from the National Veterinary Services headquarters right down to the front line of the disease eradication campaign in the field and laboratory, and for feedback of information to headquarters.
It is clear that for these things to happen quickly and efficiently in an emergency, the veterinary services of a country must be placed in a command structure or line-management system, for at least the duration of the emergency response to a CBPP outbreak.
There should be forward planning so that most appropriate structures and lines of responsibilities can be rapidly put in place when a CBPP emergency arises. This may include organizing one or more of the following well in advance of any emergency:
(i) An agreement made that animal health emergencies will be handled at the national level and that the CVO will assume overall responsibility for responding to the emergency, and will be directly answerable to the Minister in this role.
(ii) A mechanism provided for cooperation between different ministries if necessary to control the disease (e.g. police, army, education, media). This usually necessitates the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee. In view of the difficult bureaucracy that may attend the constitution of such a committee in an emergency, it is advisable that such a committee should exist permanently.
(iii) An agreement is needed with regional or provincial authorities that their own veterinary staff will come under the line management of the national CVO in an animal health emergency response programme. Arrangements also need to be put in place to ensure that regional field and laboratory veterinary services are fully involved in emergency preparedness planning and training activities; and in collaboration with national veterinary headquarters in providing early warning of emergencies (including emergency disease reporting to national headquarters).
(iv) Similar arrangements are required for all essential government veterinary services, including the Central Veterinary Laboratory, to also come within the command structure of the CVO (if not already so) for the purposes of the emergency response.
(v) Pre-existing contractual agreements must be in place for private-sector veterinary organizations, universities and other academic institutions, research institutes, etc., to provide essential services during an animal health emergency.
(vi) Negotiation with the National Veterinary Association to establish terms and conditions for hiring of practitioners and other private-sector veterinarians as temporary government veterinary officers, if needed.
In many countries the private sector is extremely small or non-existent and it may be necessary to rely upon non-veterinary assistance for disease control. There should therefore be a mechanism to mobilize the resources available in other related sectors, e.g. agricultural extension, with appropriate training. It is vital to identify those with potentially a role in the control of animal diseases and ensure that they are prepared to act immediately in the event of an epizootic.
Countries might find it very useful to establish a standing Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Diseases (CCEAD) that can be convened as soon as there is a CBPP emergency and that can meet regularly during the course of the emergency response. This would be principally a technical committee, whose role would be to review epidemiological and other disease control information; recommend on the activation of agreed contingency plans; maintain oversight during the campaign; and advise the CVO and the Minister on the future planning of the campaign and on implementation of those plans.
A suggested CCEAD composition might be:
Chief Veterinary Officer (Chair)
Director of Field Veterinary Services/Director of Disease Control
Head of the Epidemiological Unit
Directors of State, Provincial or Regional Veterinary Services
Director of the National Veterinary Laboratory
Director of any Regional Veterinary Laboratories covering the outbreak areas
Senior representatives of farmer groups or organizations
Representatives of other key groups, e.g. National Veterinary Association, Universities
Other technical experts, as required (with observer status)
If the command structure recommended in Section 7.1 cannot be implemented for one reason or another, it becomes even more essential that a CCEAD be established so that there can be a consensus approach to the conduct of the CBPP campaign.
Countries should establish a permanent National Animal Disease Control Centre. In the event of an outbreak of CBPP or another emergency animal disease, the Centre should be responsible to the CVO for coordinating all emergency disease control measures in the country. The Centre should preferably be situated within the national veterinary services headquarters. The National Epidemiology Unit should either be attached to the Centre or should work in close collaboration with it. The CVO may delegate day-to-day responsibilities for implementing agreed policy to the Head of the Centre, who would normally be a senior government veterinarian.
The responsibilities of the National Animal Disease Control Centre in the emergency response would include:
- implementing the disease control policies decided by the CVO and the CCEAD;
- directing and monitoring the operations of Local Animal Disease Control Centres (see below);
- maintaining up-to-date lists of available personnel and other resources, and details of where further resources may be obtained;
- deploying staff and other resources to the local centres;
- ordering and dispersing essential supplies, which would include vaccines for many diseases, including CBPP;
- monitoring the progress of the campaign and providing technical advice to the CVO;
- advising the CVO on the definition and proclamation of the various disease control zones;
- maintaining up-to-date lists and contact details of risk enterprises, etc;
- liaising with other groups involved in the emergency response, including those that may be activated as part of the National Disaster Plan;
- preparing international disease reports and, at the appropriate times, cases for recognition of zonal or national freedom from the disease;
- managing farmer awareness and general publicity programmes, including press releases; and
- general and financial administration, including the keeping of records.
The National Animal Disease Control Centre should be fully equipped with a range of maps covering all parts of the country (preferably at 1:50 000 scale), and with all suitable communication equipment for liaison with regional veterinary services or specially designated Local Animal Disease Control Centres, veterinary laboratories, etc., including by telephone, radio, E-mail and facsimile as appropriate. The Centre should also be linked with the Emergency Disease Information System.
During the CBPP emergency, district offices of the veterinary services closest to the infected foci, or if there are no such veterinary offices, then district offices of the agricultural extension services, act as Local Animal Disease Control Centres. Ideally, teams should be able to travel in one day to and from any site for surveillance or any other disease control activities. Otherwise, possible locations for temporary local disease control centres (e.g. local government offices) should be identified and arranged for in advance.
The regional and district veterinary officers should be in charge of disease control operations in their area, with the right to enter farms, collect samples and take any measures deemed necessary to prevent the movement of cattle within and out of the areas under their control. They should be provided with the necessary materials for sample collection, storage over short periods (a refrigerator) and transmission of samples; protective clothing; a vehicle and fuel; and the means to contact the CVO as required. Provided the necessary political structures exist, they should be able to enlist the cooperation of other services, e.g. the police, agricultural extension officers and the media, to prevent dissemination of disease. They should be provided with the materials needed to carry out a public information campaign and more intensive farmer training and information. Most importantly, they should be at all times in possession of accurate information relating to the status of the disease in the country, and slaughter and compensation levels.
Under many circumstances, there are good opportunities to involve the private sector in partnerships in the implementation of CBPP control and eradication programmes. This might include inter alia private veterinarians, community animal health workers, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Areas in which they might participate include disease surveillance and reporting; extension work; and the implementation of vaccination programmes. However, if this is to be done, it should be clearly recognized by all parties that the public sector (and specifically the CVO) is accountable for the overall programme. With this in mind, suitable training programmes and quality assurance mechanisms should be established.
Plate 7. Public awareness campaigns at farmer level are essential in effective CBPP control