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Experts List Way Forward on Animal Health

Animal Health experts have drawn up a number of interventions which can lead to an improved environment for the sector to thrive while ensuring better food security for the people of West Africa.

At the end of a five-Day workshop in Abuja, Nigeria on the 23rd of September 2016, the experts comprising Regional Veterinary Laboratory Networks (RESOLAB), Regional Epidemiological Surveillance Network (RESEPI), Directors of Animal Production (RESPA) and Directors of Veterinary Services (DVS) made the far reaching recommendations in their eleven paged report meant to be implemented at the levels of the ECOWAS Commission, Member States, as well as partners.


The Workshop which held at the instance of the ECOWAS Commission and the FAO, brought together Animal Health and Production Networks as well as experts from the ECOWAS Member States, regional and international Organizations as well as producer organizations.

Also set in motion were modalities for the improvement of the animal health situation in the region  including following up on the eradication of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) by 2030, the reinforcement of veterinary services as well as the improvement of animal health by reducing the impact of other major infectious diseases of small ruminants. The experts had also reviewed the situation of transboundary animal diseases and their control.

Specifically, RESOLAB wants Member States to Support veterinary laboratories to become regional diagnostic centers in areas of their comparative competence such as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), PPR diagnostic laboratories, Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) vaccine production while ensuring that all animal health projects have some components for the network activities

Similarly it called on ECOWAS to ensure effective operationalization of the Regional Animal Health Center (RAHC) just as the regional body would do well by making sure that all animal health projects have some component for the network activities as well.

With regards to the expectations from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), and other partners, the regional laboratory network recommended that these bodies commit to support ECOWAS in the effective operationalization of the RAHC.

On their part, RESEPI urged ECOWAS to fast track the submission of the SMP-AH project document to donors just as it wants AU-IBAR to share research findings of the human resource study for the continent with national governments. It also recommended that Member States Should advocate recruitment of more veterinary personnel into their veterinary services while exploring the recruitment of expertise through Technical Cooperation Agreements

The RESPA stressed the encouragement of the development of a regional identification and traceability strategy for livestock movement control and trade, while curtailing herders-crop farmer conflicts. It said Member States should implement the ECOWAS legal text on transhumance, encourage the use of the ECOWAS International Transhumance Certificate to control livestock movement and mitigate herders-crop farmer conflicts in the region.

The DVS called for a harmonization of the Regional legislation on Animal Welfare as well as the mobilization of resources for animal health issues. It also wants Member States to mobilize funds for animal disease control while taking actions to stop the slaughtering and export of donkey meat, hides and skin “as the donkey is becoming an endangered species”


Updates were given during the workshop, while presentations were made by representatives of countries which had recent disease outbreaks. The countries are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, and Togo.

The countries represented at the workshop included Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. There were also representatives of National, Regional and International Organizations, AU-IBAR, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) as well as the United States Department of Agriculture as well as Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS).

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