Support plans provide the vital backing that will make the implementation of the FMD or other emergency disease contingency action plans possible.
Experience has shown that delay in obtaining finances is one of the major constraints to rapid response to emergency disease outbreaks. The immediate application of even modest funds will more than likely save major expenditure later. Forward financial planning is therefore an essential component of preparedness.
Financial plans need to be developed that provide for the immediate provision of contingency funds to respond to disease emergencies. These funds are required over and above normal operating costs for government veterinary services. The plans should be approved by all interested government parties, including economic planning authorities and the Department of Finance and must provide for the payment of compensation, overtime, employment of temporary staff, hire or purchase of equipment and materials, transport, fuel and miscellaneous expenditure.
Funds may cover the cost of the whole eradication campaign. More often, however, they will cover the initial phases of the campaign, pending a review of the outbreak, the control programme and the funds required to finalize eradication.
The conditions under which funds may be released should be specified in advance. Normally they would be provided to the CVO when he or she advises that:
FMD or another emergency disease has been diagnosed or there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the disease is present;
the outbreak is capable of effective control and/or eradication;
there are approved plans in place to apply these measures.
The funds may be held as special funds, which are sequestered for the purpose, or there may be drawing rights provided up to a predetermined realistic amount against a specific government account.
In some countries it may be desirable for funds to be provided from both the government and private sector for emergency programmes against FMD and other agreed diseases. This funding would be agreed upon after a review of the nature and proportion of public and private good benefits to be derived from the elimination of the disease. If appropriate, a funding formula may be agreed upon that covers payment of a fixed percentage of the cost of the total campaign by each sector, or whereby each sector pays for specific components in the campaign. If the private sector is to contribute, it should be determined who stands to benefit in the sector (and therefore should share the cost). This may include processing industries and traders as well as farmer organizations. It also needs to be predetermined how the private sector funds will be raised, for example, by livestock industry levies (e.g. on livestock transactions or slaughtering) that are held in quarantined funds or by industry-wide insurance. Voluntary individual insurance policies are satisfactory for insuring against consequential losses from a disease or disease control actions but are unsatisfactory for raising funds for the campaign itself.
In many cases the funding of the whole emergency disease eradication campaign may be beyond the resources of the country. If this is the case, forward planning should be carried out to identify potential international donor sources for the campaign. This could include emergency support from FAO or appropriate international agencies. Procedures for applying for funding and requirements for preparing and submitting an application should be predetermined.
The first step in preparing a resource plan is to make a resource inventory. This is a listing of all the resources needed to respond to a moderate-sized FMD outbreak or other high-priority emergency disease. The plan includes personnel, equipment and other physical resources. The following resource list for different operations should be regarded as indicative rather than exhaustive.
National Animal Disease Control Centre
Senior disease control veterinarians and epidemiologists, financial and administrative officers and extra staff for recording and processing epidemiological and other information; national and regional maps (1:50 000 and 1:10 000); computers and software for animal health information systems, financial accounting, etc; and equipment for communicating with local headquarters (e.g. telephone, fax and e-mail, if available).
Local Animal Disease Control Centres
Senior disease control veterinarians and epidemiologists, technical support and administrative officers; suitable offices and office equipment; maps; a telephone and fax, where possible; pro formas for various disease control operations (in some circumstances, more sophisticated equipment such as computers with the concomitant advantage of e-mail may be present and functional); cold storage for vaccines and diagnostic samples; and simple laboratory facilities for processing diagnostic samples.
A biosecure laboratory or laboratories, preferably accredited, with trained laboratory staff; standard laboratory equipment plus any specialized equipment for key emergency diseases; diagnostic reagents for antigen and antibody detection; and provision for the receipt, labelling and secure storage of samples, from both diagnostic and serological surveillance activities.
Veterinarians and support veterinary auxiliary staff; transport; maps; communication equipment; leaflets or posters on the disease(s); equipment for collecting and transporting diagnostic samples, including blood; and animal restraint equipment.
Slaughter, burial and disinfection
Supervising veterinarian and personnel; transport; humane killers, ammunition and other approved means of killing animals; protective clothing; animal restraint equipment; front-end loaders and earthmoving equipment (depending upon local availability); approved disinfectants, soaps and detergents; shovels and scrapers; and high-pressure spraying equipment. If carcasses are to be incinerated, sufficient fuel (generally diesel mixed with a small amount of petrol), and old motor tyres to expedite the process by encouraging air circulation and maintaining enough heat.
Supervising veterinarian and personnel; vaccines; transport; cold storage during transport; syringes and needles; animal restraint equipment; eartagging equipment or other means of identifying vaccinated animals; protective clothing; disinfectants and disinfection equipment.
Quarantine and livestock movement controls
Enforcement teams; transport; roadblocks (if necessary); and signs and posters.
The next step is to prepare a list of existing resources and their specifications, quantities and locations. A register should be maintained of specialist staff together with their qualifications, expertise/experience with FMD and contact details. These resource lists and staff registers should be maintained at the National Animal Disease Control Centre and, where appropriate, at Regional Offices.
Comparison of the inventory lists of needed and available resources will inevitably highlight many deficiencies. The resource plan should identify how these deficiencies will be rectified in an emergency.
There are several options for accessing the necessary extra resources:
a list of where essential equipment and stores may be purchased, hired or borrowed;
where items are hard to obtain or take time to prepare (e.g. pro formas) it may be desirable to maintain a central store (e.g. for disinfectants);
arrangements for the supply of personnel and equipment from other government agencies, e.g. earth-moving equipment from the Department of Works, and transport and communication equipment from the armed forces;
arrangements through veterinary associations for the temporary employment or secondment of veterinary practitioners, retired veterinarians and ancillary field and laboratory staff in an emergency.
Supply of diagnostic reagents presents special problems as international sources of these are limited. An international reference laboratory for FMD should be consulted about sources of reliable diagnostic agents.
It should be noted that to maintain adequate diagnostic capacity, laboratories should routinely perform basic tests on specimens of known and unknown status to ensure diagnostic proficiency and competence, and should send test samples to reference laboratories from time to time to cross-check results even when they are negative.
The resource plan and associated inventory lists need to be regularly updated.
Acts of parliament or government regulations that provide the legislative framework and power to carry out all necessary disease control actions need to be put in place as part of preparedness planning. These regulations may include legislation to:
make FMD and other proclaimed animal diseases compulsorily notifiable;
allow the entry of officials (or other designated persons) on to a farm or other livestock enterprise for disease surveillance purposes (including the collection of diagnostic specimens) and to carry out any other approved disease control actions;
authorize the proclamation of infected and disease control zones;
authorize the quarantining of farms or other livestock enterprises;
authorize any bans on the movement of livestock, livestock products or other potentially contaminated materials, or the issue of permits to move these only under specified animal health conditions;
authorize the compulsory destruction and safe disposal of infected or potentially infected animals and contaminated or potentially contaminated products and materials, subject to fair compensation and cleaning and disinfection of properties;
authorize the destruction of feral animals and uncontrolled/ poorly controlled livestock;
provide for compensation to be paid to owners of livestock and property destroyed as part of disease control programmes and define standards for such compensation;
allow zoosanitary codes of practice to be mandated for risk enterprises and activities (e.g. livestock markets, abattoirs and dairy factories) and authorize any necessary disease control actions;
authorize the compulsory vaccination of animals;
authorize the compulsory identification of animals, where appropriate;
authorize other justifiable and necessary disease control actions.
For countries that operate under a federal system of government, there should be harmonization and consistency of legislation for animal disease emergencies throughout the country. The same should apply between countries within regions for which there is unrestricted exchange of livestock and animal products under free trade pacts, e.g. the EU, the Mercosur countries in South America, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in West and southern Africa respectively.
It is also critical to ensure that existing legal powers are properly enforced, possibly with the assistance of the police and the armed forces.