Source: FAO Regional Office for Africa |

Priority animal disease eradication strategies in West Africa reviewed at the 8th Annual Meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Animal Health Networks

FAO shared its expertise

FAO, as a key partner on livestock issues, is ready to continue to support countries in the fight against animal diseases in West Africa

ACCRA, Ghana, October 14, 2022/APO Group/ --

From 19 to 23 September 2022, the Regional Animal Health Centre (RAHC) organized the 8th Annual Meeting of the West African Regional Animal Health Networks in Praia, Cape Verde with its partners including FAO.

The theme of the 2022 meeting was: "Horizon 2030: situation, challenges and prospects for the eradication of Peste des Petits Ruminants and Rabies and the control of Foot and Mouth Disease and Contagious Bovine Peripneumonia, priority animal diseases in the Ecowas area". In one week, the participants took stock of the progress made by ECOWAS member countries in the process of eradicating or controlling Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), rabies, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and CBPP, and followed up on the implementation of the action plans for RESEPI and RESOLAB.

Also, the annual meeting of the animal health networks institutionalized and organized by the RAHC in collaboration with FAO, AU-IBAR and Brooke and their financial partners (European Union, World Bank, Swiss Cooperation) is a framework for exchanges, evaluation of the level of implementation of the past year's activities and the results obtained, discussion of the challenges and planning of future activities.

It should be noted that this meeting was also a framework for exchanges on strategies for the eradication and control of animal diseases in West Africa, which are among the causes that hinder the development of the country.

Among the causes that hinder the development of the livestock sector are animal diseases, the majority of which are endemic in West Africa and are notifiable to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Faced with the negative impacts of the diseases identified as priorities, eradication or control strategies have been developed at the global level, thus committing countries to make efforts to combat them, under the aegis of the FAO, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the World Health Organisation in the case of zoonoses. In 2015, the Global Programme for the Eradication of PPR by 2030 was launched.

The evaluation of the implementation of this programme, according to the FAO, shows a progression of infected countries towards stage 4 (final stage of eradication) until 2021. Only 15% of countries are at stage 3. Two countries have reported being at stage 4, i.e. the final stage, whereas in 2015 no country was at stage 4. Other global eradication commitments concern rabies "zero cases by 2030", control of foot and mouth disease (FMD) or CBPP.

In view of its expertise "FAO, as a key partner on livestock issues, is ready to continue to support countries in the fight against animal diseases in West Africa," said Ana Touza, FAO Representative in Cabo Verde.

As far as ECOWAS is concerned, the Strategic Orientation Framework (SOF) 2025 has defined the orientations of the Regional Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) for the period 2016-2025 through the Regional Programme for Agricultural Investments and Food and Nutritional Security (PRIASAN) and its objectives of securing pastoral and agropastoral systems. Among the actions that should contribute to the achievement of this objective are (i) the securing of cross-border pastoral mobility, (ii) the promotion of livestock feed supply networks, (iii) the strengthening of veterinary and animal health services and (iv) the fight against epizootics.

For the Executive Director of the RAHC, Mrs. Vivian Iwar, "good management and exploitation of the livestock sector should satisfy basic needs and contribute to the well-being of the rural populations who practice it for the most part”.

The meeting was co-hosted by ECOWAS experts under the chairmanship of the ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Mrs. Massandje Touré-Litsé, who was in Praia and invited all partners to take joint action to eradicate or control animal diseases in the sub-region.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.