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Experts’ studies contribute to the effort to control zoonoses, transboundary animal diseases in Ethiopia

ISAVET trainees on field practice in Uganda. ©FAO
01/05/2019

01 May 2019, Addis Ababa - Six animal health workers, trained by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have conducted essential studies on Anthrax, Camel Pox, Foot and Mouth Diseases, Lumpy Skin Disease, Rabies and Trypanosomiasis in Ethiopia.  The studies  contribute to the effort to control the diseases from spreading, disrupting livestock safety and trade, and affecting food security and human health. 

The trainees presented their findings, as part of their final In Service Applied Veterinary Epidemiology Training (ISAVET) programme, to the Chief Veterinary Officer of Ethiopia and other stakeholders on 11 April 2019 in Addis Ababa.   

The studies  aimed to understand the geographic distribution and seasonal patterns of these zoonoses and transboundary animal diseases and the risk factors involved in their spread. They also identified hotspot districts, looked into the efficiency of the response systems, and identified potential areas for further observational studies and the gaps in the existing passive surveillance data. The findings will be used as baseline epidemiological data for further research to understand the epidemiology of these major diseases. 

"FAO's ISAVET programme will make a huge contribution to improve the veterinary services in Ethiopia,” Dr Alemayehu Mekonnen, Chief Veterinary Officer, emphasized. He further stated, “The Ministry of Agriculture would like to reaffirm the full engagement and commitment to facilitate the programme and long-term sustainability in every step of the process.” 

FAO will continue to work with the trainees, their mentors and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) to ensure that the studies can inform Government policy makers and improve animal health and livestock. 

The trainees recommended the training to be cascaded to the district and kebele animal health staff level and it should address both veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals to build on the success so far and fulfill a critical need for veterinary skill to stop emerging diseases.  The also recommended to the regional governments and veterinary laboratories to commit budget for the implementation of ISAVET training programme to support trainee’s field project activities as well as establish funding mechanism to sustainable fund the programme. 

Key challenges identified by the trainees include limitation of funding and logistics for data collection and related activities and the missing of important biodata variables from the passive surveillance data under existing situation.  To strategically address these challenges, ISAVET implementation framework for the country should be developed and endorsed at different Animal Health authorities level. 

FAO collaborated with the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), Texas A&M University, to develop the ISAVET program, intended  to fill the gap of qualified veterinary epidemiologists working at the frontline animal health services to efficiently address the evolving risks due to animal-specific and zoonotic disease events. The programme designed the training based on core competencies and skills relevant to animal health, including animal-specific diseases that influence production, food safety and trade, in addition to zoonotic diseases.  

ISAVET pilot training is implemented through the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) initiative with the support of funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Feleseta Kassaye Woldtsadique

 

Risk Communication and One Health Outreach Coordinator

 

Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD)

 

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

 

Email: feleseta.woldtsadique@fao.org

 

Tel. Office: +251 11 647 8888 Ext 238