Support plans provide the vital backing that will make the implementation of the RVF or other emergency disease contingency action plans possible.
Experience has shown that delay in obtaining finances is one of the major constraints to rapid response to emergency disease outbreaks. The immediate application of even modest funds will more than likely save major expenditure later. Forward financial planning is therefore an essential component of preparedness.
A financial plan needs to be developed that provides for the immediate provision of contingency funds to respond to disease emergencies. These funds are required over and above normal operating costs for government veterinary services. The plan should be approved by all interested government parties, including economic planning authorities and the Department of Finance.
Funds may cover the cost of the whole control/eradication campaign. More usually they will cover the initial phases of the campaign, pending a review of the outbreak, the control programme and the funds required to carry it through.
The conditions under which funds may be released should be specified in advance. Normally funds would be provided to the CVO when he or she advises that:
The funds may be held as special funds, which are sequestered for the purpose, or there may be drawing rights provided up to a predetermined realistic amount against a specific government account.
In some countries it may be desirable for funds to be provided from both the government and private sector for emergency programmes against serious livestock diseases such as RVF. This funding would be agreed upon after a review of the nature and proportion of public and private good benefits to be derived from the effective control or elimination of the disease. If appropriate, a funding formula may be agreed upon that covers payment of a fixed percentage of the cost of the total campaign by each sector, or whereby each sector pays for specific components in the campaign. If the private sector is to contribute, it should be determined who stands to benefit in the sector (and therefore should share the cost). This may include processing industries and traders as well as farmer organizations. It also needs to be predetermined how the private sector funds will be raised, for example, by livestock industry levies (e.g. on livestock transactions or slaughtering) that are held in quarantined funds or by industry-wide insurance. Voluntary individual insurance policies are satisfactory for insuring against consequential losses from a disease or disease control actions but are unsatisfactory for raising funds for the campaign itself.
In many cases the funding of the whole emergency disease eradication campaign may be beyond the resources of the country. If this is the case, forward planning should be carried out to identify potential international donor sources for the campaign. This could include emergency support from FAO or appropriate international agencies. Procedures for applying for funding and requirements for preparing and submitting an application should be predetermined.
The first step in preparing a resource plan is to make a resource inventory. This is a listing of all the resources needed to respond to a moderate-sized RVF outbreak or other high-priority emergency disease. The plan includes personnel, equipment and other physical resources. The following resource list for different operations should be regarded as indicative rather than exhaustive.
Senior disease control veterinarians and epidemiologists, financial and administrative officers and extra staff for recording and processing epidemiological and other information; national and regional maps (1:50 000 and 1:10 000); computers and software for animal health information systems, financial accounting, etc; and equipment for communicating with local headquarters (e.g. telephone, fax and e-mail, if available).
Senior disease control veterinarians and epidemiologists, technical support and administrative officers; suitable offices and office equipment; maps; a telephone and fax, where possible; pro formas for various disease control operations (in some circumstances, more sophisticated equipment such as computers with the concomitant advantage of e-mail may be present and functional); cold storage for vaccines and diagnostic samples; and simple laboratory facilities for processing diagnostic samples.
Trained laboratory staff; standard laboratory equipment plus any specialized equipment for key emergency diseases; and diagnostic reagents for antigen and antibody detection.
Veterinarians and support veterinary auxiliary staff; transport; maps; communication equipment; leaflets or posters on the disease(s); equipment for collecting and transporting diagnostic samples, including blood; and animal restraint equipment.
Supervising veterinarian and personnel; vaccines; transport and cold storage during transport; syringes and needles; animal restraint equipment; and eartagging equipment or other means for identifying vaccinated animals.
The next step is to prepare a list of existing resources and their specifications, quantities and locations. A register should be maintained of specialist staff together with their qualifications and expertise/experience with RVF. These resource lists and staff registers should be maintained at the National Animal Disease Control Centre and, where appropriate, at Regional Offices.
Comparison of the inventory lists of needed and available resources will inevitably highlight many deficiencies. The resource plan should identify how these deficiencies will be rectified in an emergency.
There are several options for accessing the necessary extra resources:
Supply of diagnostic reagents presents special problems as international sources of these are limited. An international reference laboratory for RVF should be consulted about sources of reliable diagnostic agents.
It should be noted that to maintain adequate diagnostic capacity, laboratories should routinely perform basic tests on specimens of known and unknown status to ensure competence, and should send test samples to reference laboratories from time to time to cross-check results even when they are negative.
The resource plan and associated inventory lists need to be regularly updated.
Acts of parliament or government regulations that provide the legislative framework and power to carry out all necessary disease control actions need to be put in place as part of preparedness planning. These regulations may include legislation to: