Global Control and Eradication of Peste des Petits Ruminants. Investing in Veterinary Systems, Food Security and Poverty Alleviation

Global Control and Eradication of Peste des Petits Ruminants. Investing in Veterinary Systems, Food Security and Poverty Alleviation
Apr 2015

Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), a highly contagious viral disease affecting sheep and goats, causes a staggering USD 1.45 billion to USD 2.1 billion in losses each year. Since it was first identified in Côte d’Ivoire in 1942, PPR has spread to around 70 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia − regions that are home to over 80 percent of the world’s sheep and goats and to more than 330 million of the world’s poorest people who depend on them for their livelihoods.

Economic losses caused by PPR strike at the heart of vulnerable livelihoods as well as national and regional livestock production. Countries have experienced cumulative yearly losses ranging from tens to hundreds of millions of US dollars. Eradicating PPR will help improve food security, nutrition, incomes and livelihood resilience of millions of poor farmers around the world.

In response to calls from member countries, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) have taken the lead in developing a Global Strategy for the control and eradication of PPR. PPR has spread at an alarming rate over the last 15 years, reaching regions previously not infected. If unchecked, it could spread even further, causing more devastating socio-economic losses and hardship for the millions of poor farmers, most of them women, who rely on sheep and goats for their livelihoods.

The global demand for meat and dairy products is expected to more than double by 2030. That means production of livestock and livestock products will have to increase substantially to keep pace with markets and nutritional requirements − something that will be difficult to achieve if livestock-producing countries continue to struggle with diseases like PPR, which directly affect production efficiency and sustainability. But just as the international community united to eradicate rinderpest, we believe it can do the same for PPR. With an overall investment of USD 7.1 billion, we believe PPR can be eradicated within 15 years. That’s half the time it took to rid the world of rinderpest. 

Furthermore, the support provided to public and private veterinary services will have positive benefits for animal health in all targeted countries, and promote better nutrition and health, while encouraging economic growth.

Eradication makes economic sense as it will permanently eliminate the negative socioeconomic impacts of the disease. The entire investment in this initiative is expected to be recovered within the first five years of PPR eradication.

Efforts to control PPR are already paying off. In Somalia, for example, no new outbreaks of the disease have been reported since 2012, following a mass vaccination campaign carried out by the Government, professional organisations and non-governmental organisations with FAO’s support.

PPR eradication is within our reach, but it requires the political will and financial support of countries, regional organizations and international resource partners. It requires strategic partnerships with both the public and private sector. And it requires sustained commitment.