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Ethiopia evaluates its animal health surveillance system

Ethiopia evaluates its animal health surveillance system


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in partnership with the Government of Ethiopia through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources (MoALR), has conducted an animal health surveillance system evaluation between 23 April and 3 May 2018.

The main objectives of the external surveillance evaluation process were to assess epidemiological surveillance capacity of the veterinary service; to evaluate the country’s progress for the surveillance of priority zoonotic diseases under the scope of the World Health Organization’s Joint External Evaluation (JEE); to develop a short and long-term action plan to strengthen the national animal health surveillance system in line with the identified gaps and weaknesses; and to build the capacity of the Ministry to conduct similar internal evaluation missions in the future.

The evaluation was conducted in coordination with FAO and MoALR experts using FAO’s Surveillance Evaluation Tool (SET). SET is a comprehensive tool that allows for a comprehensive evaluation of the national animal health surveillance system and identifies the gaps and areas that need improvement to strengthen the capacity to prevent, detect and respond to zoonotic and high impact animal diseases. The result is a set of recommendations on the tangible actions that can be initiated at country level to achieve realistic goals of improving the responsiveness of the surveillance system.

During the launching meeting held on 23 April 2018, Dr. Yismashewa Wogayehu, Director of Epidemiology at the MoALR noted, “We believe that the result from this exercise will reveal important gaps in the surveillance system that require tangible actions and contribute to improving our surveillance systems.” The meeting, attended by key animal health decision makers, highlighted the SET evaluation methodology and approaches.

The launch of SET was followed by a series of interviews at the national level and field missions. The Southern, Nations, Nationalities and Peoples; Oromia, Afar and Amhara Regional States were selected for the field missions where interviews and document reviews were conducted at various levels to gain a thorough understanding of disease surveillance system in the country. Key stakeholders were interviewed including veterinary professionals and para-professionals in public and private sectors, export abattoir workers, municipal slaughter house workers, livestock traders, community based animal health workers and farming communities.

Findings of the evaluation exercise were presented to the key animal health stakeholders with the view to get feedback on the evaluation scores and recommendations. The SET evaluation was conducted under the auspices of the USAID-funded GHSA (Global Health Security Agenda) programme, which has been under implementation in Ethiopia since 2016 through partnership between FAO and the Government of Ethiopia (MoALR).

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