FAO in Kenya

Taking stock of FAO-USAID partnership to control health threats

ECTAD Country Manager for Kenya, Dr. Zelalem Tadesse presents EPT-2 achievements to peers for validation during the Nairobi workshop. Photo Credit ©FAO/Neema Mutemi

ECTAD Africa regional consultation on the second phase of the Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) programme

It is estimated that 60 percent of diseases that send people to hospital today and 75 percent of all emerging and re-emerging infections among humans originate from animals. Zoonotic infectious diseases such as, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Ebola, Marburg, Rabies, Anthrax, Brucellosis, Rift Valley Fever, Avian Influenza, Middle East Respiratory Coronavirus (MERS CoV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Zoonotic Tuberculosis and others are some of the major public health concerns the world is tackling today.

The Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), through the USAID-funded Emerging Pandemic Threats-2 Programme (EPT-2), has been working to build and strengthen the capacities of national governments to prevent, detect early and respond rapidly to avoid pandemic situations. Since its inception in 2017, the programme has worked towards mitigating the impact of high consequence pathogens originating from animals.  The FAO One Health approach combines investment in mechanisms for prevention, early detection, and enhanced multi-sectoral preparedness for effective rapid response.

FAO convened a region-wide consultation workshop to validate, prioritize as well as harmonize the outputs, achievements, success stories and lessons learnt from the ongoing country level EPT2 activities ahead of a milestones report to be submitted to USAID as the programme draws to a close this year. ECTAD staff from 14 African countries and programme specialists based in the FAO headquarters in Rome were the main participants of this process and were joined by the USAID Regional Emerging Threats Advisor for East Africa, Dr. Lisa Kramer.

“FAO’s Prevent Strategy has been at the core of the EPT-2 programme from the beginning and is helping us to get ahead of outbreaks”, said Dr. Kramer, acknowledging the long-established partnership between USAID and FAO in support to preventing, detecting and responding to emerging health threats globally. She explained that USAID considered FAO’s animal health work as crucial to preventing human health emergencies at source by addressing zoonotic infectious diseases. This, Dr. Kramer noted, has been the US agency’s justification to continually invest in FAO’s work and thus this special request for a milestones report.

Dr. Charles Bebay, the regional manager for Eastern Africa, ECTAD and the host of the meeting, welcomed the participants to Kenya noting that the resulting report would be a useful tool to inform USAID and other partners in their future investment in the sector. “Having the ability to diagnose the disease within country, instead of sending samples outside of the country for testing, helps to stop an outbreak in a matter of days instead of weeks”. Dr. Bebay cited the programme’s success in Togo, where FAO’s country-tailored assistance had made it possible for a national veterinary laboratory to test samples and accurately detect avian influenza in August 2016 for the first time.

Dr. Subhash Morzaria, the international consultant for EPT-2 explained that a similar meeting had already been held in the Asian region and the input from both regions would produce useful insights for a comprehensive report to inform countries, FAO and USAID in their future programme planning to improve control of emerging and re-emerging disease threats.

Senior Animal Health Officer, Dr. Yilma Makonnen emphasized the critical responsibility of FAO in building and Member States’ capacities, calling on the participants to identify opportunities to harmonize efforts with other players. “There are several partners also working towards controlling animal disease threats at source and FAO needs to take advantage of the good collaboration and goodwill that exists through its technical capacity and networks with the government veterinary services to deliver on all animal health programmes”.

ECTAD Regional Manager for West and Central Africa, Dr. Baba Soumare, in his remarks reiterated that FAO’s most impactful work lay in three areas: de-risking livestock value chains, enhancing national laboratory capacities and disease surveillance. The three, he noted, are interlinked and work together for the prevention, detection and response to animal and human health emergencies.

Notable achievements from the EPT-2 programme in Africa

  1. Enhanced national laboratory capacities which led to early detection and rapid response to HPAI.
  2. Characterization of the camel value chain and identification of potential hotspots in MERS-Cov circulation.
  3. Characterization of the MERS-Cov strains circulating in the East Africa region.
  4. Projected scenarios on livestock development and its possible effects on public health, the environment and people’s livelihoods to identify policy actions to prevent the emergence of emerging infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.

The Consolidation of the Africa and Asia reports with inputs from FAO headquarters is ongoing, and it is envisaged that the EPT-2 Milestones Report will be published by the end of 2019.

Technical Contact

Charles Bebay
Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases
Regional Manager for Eastern Africa
Email: [email protected]


Media Contact

Neema Grace Mutemi
Country Communications Adviser
FAO Representation in Kenya
Email: [email protected]


This news release was issued by the FAO Representation in Kenya

United Nations Complex, Level 3, Block P, UN Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi
P. O. Box 30470 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Tel:  +254 20 7625920


Related links:

Stopping Avian Influenza in Togo

Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT)

USAID and FAO working together to pre-empt the next global pandemic

One Health Approach