27 February 2015 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Industries of Cameroon (MINEPIA) implemented a project on the “Support to the improvement of the control of trade-relevant transboundary animal diseases” (MTF/CMR/034/TF), funded by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) under the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), which supports developing countries in building their capacity to implement international sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards as a means to improve their ability to gain or maintain access to markets. The project aims at improving the control of four priority transboundary animal diseases (TADs) in Cameroun, namely Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), African Swine Fever (ASF) and Newcastle Disease (ND), on a national scale.
Main project activities included the provision of equipment for disease surveillance; epidemiological surveys and response to disease outbreaks; training and refreshment epidemio-surveillance workshops for the national veterinary services staff; support to the development of producers’ associations with a special focus on their role in disease surveillance, prevention and control; the development of strategic plans for the control and prevention of the priority diseases; and the development of procedure manuals and guidelines for the sanitary inspection of fish, eggs and meat.
A technical backstopping mission was carried out to Cameroon by the Animal Health service of FAO Head Office during the first half of February 2015. The objective of the mission was to review and evaluate the final drafts of the four TADs’ strategic plans, which had been jointly developed by FAO and the Veterinary Services of Cameroon (VSC). The strategic control plans were validated at workshop which took place in Kribi from 04/02/15 to 06/02/15. The four strategic plans followed a previously FAO/VSC proposed template. However, to be in-line with global strategies, the FMD plan followed a template developed by the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD), which considers a risk-based approach. Following the same approach, the PPR strategic plan will be updated once the FAO/OIE Global PPR Control Strategy will be in place. To develop these strategic plans the project has undertaken a comprehensive work regarding TAD’s field surveillance and sampling data collection, as well as farmer’s KAP studies around the country. Considering the richness of the collected data, it has been recommended to add value to this information by producing scientific publications and/or other kind of technical documents.
Another workshop for the presentation of the project results and the official closure of the project took place in Yaoundé on 12/02/15. At the workshop it was emphasized that the process undertaken to develop the strategic plans has been as much or even more important than the results, given that the VSC are capable of developing strategic plans for any given animal disease. However, there is a need to further develop action plans for each disease strategic plan, including a budget and an operational framework that may be common for all diseases and the VSC are already working along this line. Two different action approaches were proposed during the workshop: a disease specific approach, considering the development of project proposals for the implementation of each disease strategic plans, and an integrated approach, through the development of project proposals according to the different needs identified in the different studies developed through the project implementation, the strategic plans and other documents (ex.: OIE PVS).
This second approach is highly recommended, since it is also in line with the FAO AGAH vision. The priority needs identified were related to the strengthening of the VSC; capacity building of farmers and other livestock sector stakeholders; improvement of sanitary control and exchange procedures for animal products; and the strengthening of national veterinary legislation and regulations. Further discussions were undertaken to better define the different needs and to propose options for funding and implementation within a regional framework.