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Harmonization of animal health interventions, key for eradicating PPR

Community animal health workers play important role for eradicating PPR.
07/02/2019

7 February 2019, Addis Ababa - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) stress that harmonization of animal health interventions is central for the control and eventual eradication of Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) from all parts of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa (HoA) region. This was disclosed on the Sixth National Coordination Workshop of EC-Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience (EC-SHARE), Pursuing Pastoralist Resilience Project held in Adama city recently. 

Workshop organizers announced that FAO and MoA are advocating for the creation of fora both at in-country and HoA region level to encourage veterinary services to jointly plan, implement and monitor animal health interventions targeting the eradication of PPR.

Speaking at the workshop, Gijs van’t Klooster, Head of Livestock and Pastoralism Thematic Program with FAO Ethiopia, said: “FAO’s EU-SHARE PPR Project has conducted joint coordination meetings with stakeholders to harmonize approaches for PPR eradication interventions in the highland and lowland interface areas of Afar, Tigray, Amhara, Oromia, Somali and SNNP regions.”

These regions are known for regular movement of livestock and are where FAO has recently expanded its project activities to adjacent areas of these regions.

It is evident that harmonized approaches at the in-country level require continuous exchange of information among regional veterinary services and other stakeholders on the status of PPR in their respective operational areas, and that veterinary field staff in the highland-lowland interface areas share information on PPR outbreaks, outcomes of Participatory Disease Surveillance (PDS) and animal movements for undertaking harmonized and coordinated vaccination campaigns.

As for the HoA region, harmonized approaches are absent in most countries of the region, with the exception of Kenya and Ethiopia. Despite the fact that all countries in the Horn have national PPR progressive control and eradication strategies and 5 year action plans, they do not have coordinated and harmonized cross-border action plans. This is mainly due to the absence of funding at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) level and that governments haven’t sufficiently funded the action plans from their own coffers. This reality has led to the need for joint planning, implementing and monitoring PPR eradication interventions among HoA countries.

Alemayehu Mekonnen, Chief Veterinary Officer of Ethiopia, said: “Responsible ministries of Ethiopia and Kenya have set an example by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for improving cross-border animal health coordination and that implementation framework (IF) for the operationalization of the MoUs were developed and governance structures were established in August 2018”. 

He added that the two countries have identified three key activities under the new plan for immediate implementation and these include participatory disease surveillance (PDS), sero-monitoring and vaccination against PPR in Turkana-South Omo and Marsabit-Borana borders.

There is no doubt that these approaches and arrangements are going to decisively contribute to the control and eradication of PPR within Ethiopia and the HoA region. 

It is learnt that FAO, MoA and partners have thus far vaccinated over 19 million small ruminants in six regions of Ethiopia during the period from January 2016 to December 2018, thanks to the generous financial support of the European Union.

Contact

Yonas Tafesse, EU-SHARE Program – PPR Project Extension Communication Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Email: Yonas.TafesseQoricho@fao.org