FAO in Kenya

Regional Animal Health Network Stakeholders meet to align common long-term livestock action for the years ahead

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Collected samples from a chicken to be analyzed in a laboratory in Kiambu County, Kenya. Credit: ©FAO_Luis Tato

Naivasha, Kenya. The Eastern Africa – Regional Animal Health Network (EA-RAHN), is a platform that was established in 2008, to strengthen regional coordination on technical issues relating to animal health and veterinary services in the region. The 9th EA-RAHN meeting themed “Partnering for an enhanced coordination of interventions on animal and public health threats” took place between June 26 – 28, 2019 in Naivasha, Kenya.

The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD), African Union-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), and the sub regional representation for East Africa for the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

About 65 experts including Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs), National Epidemiologists, and Heads of diagnostic Laboratories, from Burundi, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda came together to explore approaches to address emerging animal and public health challenges. FAO, IGAD/ICPALD, OIE, AU IBAR, Makerere University and the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD) provided technical support to the network.

The 9th RAHN meeting focused primarily on the increased tick resistance to the commonly used acaricides in the region, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). The meeting also provided the participants an opportunity to understand FAO tools: FAO Surveillance Evaluation Tool (SET), FAO Assessment Tool for Laboratories and AMR Surveillance Systems (ATLASS), FAO Laboratory Mapping Tool LMT and approaches to support management and surveillance in animal health workforce capacity development under the FAO and US-based Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases launch joint ISAVET programme.

The network recognized the urgency brought about by risk AMR poses to human wellbeing as well as the economic significance for a region heavily dependent on the livestock sector for the prosperity in the region in live with the Africa Union's Agenda 2063 and the SDG commitment to ´Leave No-one Behind'. To this end, the Africa Sustainable Livestock (ASL) 2050 methodology on how to use economics in understanding impacts of livestock systems to public health was presented and discussed. Examples of its application in Kenya showed that the dual burden of brucellosis, Bovine-TB and Salmonellosis is highest in the public health sector (compared to livestock sector); yet reducing the impacts on the former required interventions to be implemented in the latter source to disease). On-going projects implemented by AU-IBAR and ICPALD were also shared.

The meeting also adopted a set of comprehensive recommendations to the Governments of the twelve countries, and partners involved. The recommendations were made to address new challenges affecting animal health service delivery and proposed effective ways to combat animal health threats in the region. Considering the anticipated rise in demand for animal sourced food in the future and in order to deal with the emerging challenges associated with growing but changing livestock systems, these recommendations will ensure sustainable growth of livestock in the long-term through collaborative efforts to upgrade biosecurity and biosafety.

In conclusion, the EA-RAHN will collaborate with FAO and other partners in the region, to initiate institutional reforms that should complement current livestock sector policies and investments, thus supporting a sustainable sectoral growth in the future.

The 9th EA-RAHN meeting immediately following the Regional Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) meeting held to review the PPR control and eradication progress and updates on a regional, continental and global level, and to agree on the regional way-forward. Following the country’s presentations and inputs, it was concluded that the countries' capacities on PPR eradication and control differ and the levels of implementation vary. While countries have implemented activities in the progressive control of PPR in the region, each country’s work plans need to be aligned to the regional pathway and tool for PPR control.

For more information kindly contact: Charles Bebay, Regional Manager, ECTAD Eastern Africa: [email protected]