Dr. J. Lubroth,
Senior Officer, EMPRES
The Consultative Group Meeting for CBPP is unique in character in that it brings together field veterinarians, laboratory diagnosticians, researchers, policy makers and international partner institutions such as the AU-IBAR, OIE and the FAO/IAEA Joint Division. The meeting attempts to synthesize scientific (technical experience and ideas) coupled with practical field experience in the hope of coming to a common consensus on the way forward in the protection of cattle for the progressive control of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP). That being the case, the responsibility on this group is tremendous considering the present epidemic situation of CBPP in Africa. The cross fertilization of ideas, technical exchanges, forceful interpretation of the way forward in CBPP control have at times led to sterile debates and arguments that have unfortunately, led to less than productive meeting outcomes. Today, CBPP has invaded parts of countries in Africa where the disease has not been reported for over half a century. We must, as a technical group, make a difference for the better by:
Developing and suggesting novel workable strategies for the control of CBPP in the light of new technical information some of which will be presented at this meeting. Something new that is workable and takes cognisance of present day realities in economic trends in animal disease control are essential outputs expected from his meeting.
Ensuring that, in the face of challenges to national veterinary services in down sizing, restructuring and dwindling resources, the capacities for early warning and early response to CBPP incursions are not lost. Concepts such as tackling control of transboundary animal diseases including CBPP at source should be thoroughly explored in defining disease control strategies for CBPP in the future.
Ensuring that experience of what has worked or not worked in the past should form an important component for suggesting sustainable strategies for CBPP control.
Promoting CBPP control on the basis of improving national cattle production and also in reducing the risk of spread of the disease to neighbouring countries based on critical analysis of particular risk factors responsible for the spread of the disease. The current outbreaks of CBPP in the Caprivi strip of Namibia where the disease was last reported in 1939, and in Eritrea are worrisome because of severe implications for potential spread of CBPP to Botswana, Zimbabwe and other SADC countries currently free from the disease.
Finally, it is essential to re-enforce the need to work with cattle producing communities in finding effective mechanisms for CBPP disease containment because of implications for food security and improvements in livelihoods.