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Editorial Director: Dr A.B.Niang

 

 


2006 Annual report of the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for Southern Africa.

Gaborone - Botswana

2006

INTRODUCTION

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) wishes to extent appreciation to the SADC Secretariat and the European Union for showing confidence in the OIE by providing financial resources to establish the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for the SADC Region.

This has created an opportunity to enhance OIE authority and visibility in the SADC region spurred on by the noble ambition of improving animal health for the benefit of public health, wealth creation and protection of animal welfare in the SADC Member States.

The signing of the Agreement between the OIE and SADC in August 2003 was the first milestone in the collaboration and cooperation between OIE and the SADC Secretariat towards facilitating SADC Member States to comply with OIE international standards and implement the new policy that builds on OIE’s reputation and firmly established OIE legitimacy.

The global mandate of the OIE plays an important role on food security, wealth creation and improved public health by setting standards on the control of animal diseases and zoonoses; thus contributing to safe trade and market access in animals and animal products. OIE promotes the role of quality National Veterinary Services (VS) which are responsible for implementing the OIE standards and of late also promotes animal welfare by adopting international rules.

Since the establishment of the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for SADC, about a year ago, a foundation has been laid upon which OIE normative activities and the Action according to the Contribution Agreement (CA) have to be implemented.

This is a narrative and financial report in compliance with Article 2 of the General conditions applicable to EC contribution agreements with international organizations.


THE ROLE OF THE OIE SUB REGIONAL OFFICE (SRO)

The Contribution Agreement between the two parties (SADC and OIE) came into force in March 2005 but the implementation of the agreement officially started in August 2005 with the recruitment of the OIE Sub-Regional Representative who reported on duty in January 2006.

The Sub-Regional Representative reports to the Director General of the OIE but also ensures that the OIE Regional Representative for Africa based in Bamako, Mali is kept informed of all the activities being carried out, as well as maintaining a clear link of communication with the OIE Delegates of SADC Member States.

The purpose of establishing the OIE Sub-Regional Office (OIE SRO) for Southern Africa is to contribute directly and indirectly to wealth creation (poverty reduction) in the region, through increased productivity by means of animal health improvement and alleviating sanitary constraints on trade of livestock and livestock products. The OIE SRO will provide SADC Member States with better-suited technical assistance and more local services that will reinforce surveillance and control of animal diseases as per international standards set by the OIE.

Specifically the OIE SRO for Southern Africa is mandated to:

  • contribute to improving the quality of veterinary services and information on animal diseases and harmonization of the methods of diseases control, in close collaboration with the national veterinary authorities, SADC Secretariat and private animal care delivery services established in the region,
  • facilitate capacity building of personnel responsible for animal health, notably by financing and organizing courses and or seminars deemed necessary by the OIE and in particular on the evaluation and auditing of veterinary services,
  • monitor the development of any other action deemed to be in the interest of SADC Member States by the OIE International Committee.

The countries falling under the OIE Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa are the OIE Member States of Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The OIE Sub-Regional Office maintains clear links with the SADC Member States through the OIE Delegates and works in close collaboration with the SADC FANR Directorate and the PRINT Project management. The OIE SRO also maintains a very close working relationship with the OIE HQs to ensure an appropriate flow of administrative and financial information as well as technical/scientific information.


ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT DURING THE PERIOD UNDER REVIEW

According to the Action as contained in the Contribution Agreement, the following specific activities were earmarked for the first year.

  • Setting up the Sub-Regional Office
  • Assessing National Animal Disease Surveillance and Reporting Systems and existing databases in SADC Member States;
  • Preparation of an action plan to support SADC Member States to improve their current reporting systems in order to ensure compatibility and compliance with the OIE system
  • Establishment information communication flow between non official sources and the OIE Sub-Regional Office.
  • Conduct a workshop on the problem identification linked to compliance with SPS and OIE standards and certification
  • Support to SADC member States in developing their official disease status dossiers.
  • Development of Veterinary Services evaluation and audit guidelines

Implementation of the Action

A business plan (See attachment Annex I) was prepared and implemented following the plan of action for the first 12 months as indicated in the contribution agreement and taking into consideration the fourth OIE Strategic Plan adopted by the OIE General Session in May 2005 which presents the OIE as a global public good institution for the international community.

Setting up the Sub Regional Office

Before the OIE could operate officially in the SADC region, it had to be accredited with the Government of the Republic of Botswana. The process took a long time from submission of the Accreditation Agreement to the time it was concluded at the end of June 2006 when the OIE was informed by the Government of the Republic of Botswana, through diplomatic channels, that it has complied with the requirements for approval provide for in the constitution.

The OIE SRO is now formally an accredited diplomatic mission based in Botswana, operating and responsible for the SADC region. The OIE Sub-Regional Office is currently housed in the Zimbabwe Embassy. Alternative options are being explored to establish the SRO in other premises in future as required by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Technical activities

Many of the technical activities could not start effectively without the OIE accreditation in Botswana. Nevertheless, the Sub Regional Representative (SRR) participated and contributed to several missions (See attached Annex II) and has initiated a number of activities as indicated below. Formally links has been established through e-networking with all the OIE Delegates in the SADC Member States and their nominated OIE focal points for Sanitary Information System, Wildlife diseases, Aquatic animal diseases, Veterinary medicinal products and Animal welfare.

Sanitary Surveillance System

All the SASDC Member States have well established national Epidemiological Units forming a geo-referenced SADC Animal Disease Surveillance and Reporting Network. These are electronically linked to the New World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) and the World Animal Health Database (WAHID) hosted at the OIE HQs in Paris, France.

WAHIS is a transparency, efficiency and fast way of animal health information dissemination, readily available to the general public. In addition to being posted on the Web this information is automatically sent to OIE Member Countries and all stakeholders as well as to any person or institution subscribed to the OIE 's electronic mailing list; a service provided free of charge. This new approach gives a wider audience of user’s access to emergency information making the OIE the major provider of animal health information worldwide.

WAHIS is user-friendly and the OIE Web site has been enhanced, with provision to access archived information such as weekly information, country reports contained in the Annual World Animal Health publication, etc. An introduction of GIS to indicate location of outbreaks makes it easy and interesting to follow the trend of events during the course of outbreaks in a particular country or a region for example, in the case of Classic Swine Fever in Eastern Cape, South Africa ( See Map below)

Map of the Eastern Cape in South Africa showing locations of Classical Swine Fever outbreaks from August to December 2005

Effective January 2005, there is a new OIE disease List established on the basis of criteria adopted in 2004. There are also new notification and reporting procedures, which provide clearer definition of epidemiological events; hence improving the quality of the information collected using of standard reporting forms now available and used by most of the SADC Member States.

The OIE Sub-Regional Representative (SRR) continuously monitors the animal health situation in the region and in particular Notifiable Avian Influenza (NAI), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and Newcastle Disease from official reports and non official sources.

The OIE undertakes to organize a Seminar on the new OIE World Animal Health Information System (WAHIS) in collaboration with SADC to improve the Animal Health Information Systems in the region as one of the components of the SADC Livestock Information Management System (LIMS) under the PRINT – Livestock Project. This will strengthen Animal Health and Biosecurity in the region. The objective of SADC AHIS will be to develop an on-line reporting system for SADC Member States to provide an early warning system that will also enhances their capacity to comply with their obligation for prompt disease reporting to OIE.

SADC AHIS will complement OIE mission to enhance disease information system at national and regional level. With the assurance that only disease outbreak reports cleared by OIE shall be allowed for public display, this will ensure integrity that disease information publicly accessible at SADC website is the same information stored by the WAHIS .

SADC TADs programmes will in future tap the on-line reporting submission of SADC AHIS to provide more efficient and timely TADs surveillance, reporting and control. SADC GF-TADs will extract disease data submitted by SADC Member States through SADC AHIS to OIE and publicly display disease maps, tables and graphs.

Problem identification workshop linked to compliance with SPS and OIE standards and certification

This activity was not carried out and the SRR has been advised by OIE HQs staff that there is no need to hold such a workshop in view of the fact that numerous similar workshops have already been organized by different institutions including the WTO in which SADC Member States have actively participated. Instead it is proposed to hold a Seminar on the Structure of the National Veterinary Services (NVS) of SADC Member States to deliberate amongst other things:-

  • Evaluation and auditing of National Veterinary Services using the PVS instrument;
  • OIE standards and their application in the SADC region;
  • Human and financial resources for National Veterinary Services;
  • Involvement of National Veterinary Services in food safety; and
  • Animal welfare and environmental protection;

Support to SADC Member States in developing their official disease status dossiers

According to Resolution XXVIII approved by the International Committee of the OIE at the General session of May 2006, the following SADC Member states are officially recognised to be free from Rinderpest (Cattle plague) infection: Botswana, Lesotho, DRC, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The OIE SRR has been in consultations with the OIE Delegates of Angola and Mozambique to assist them in the process of preparing their dossiers of Rinderpest freedom for submission to the OIE Scientific Commission. These countries have had no Rinderpest for many years and there is no problem envisaged to declare them free from infection on the basis of historical evidence.

Tanzania is officially recognised to be free from Rinderpest disease and they are well advanced preparing for their dossier for freedom from infection which will hopefully be submitted to the OIE before the end of December 2006 for approval during the OIE 75 th General Session in May 2007. The SADC Region should be declared totally free from Rinderpest before the 2010 deadline according to the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme (GREP) spearheaded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

The SRR made a field visit to the FMD outbreak area in Botswana and verified excellent work done by the veterinary authorities to contain the FMD outbreak along the border with Zimbabwe.

The SRR has also been monitoring efforts by South Africa to control Classical Swine Fever (CSF) which was introduced into the country in July 2005 and will provide technical support and advice necessary to ensure that the disease is eventually eradicated and does not cross over to neighboring SADC Member States.

Development of guidelines for evaluation and auditing Veterinary Services

Evaluation and auditing of National Veterinary Services (VS) particularly in developing countries is currently a major thrust of the OIE and closely related to the global threat of Avian and Human Influenza (AHI). To be effective in controlling emerging and re-emerging animal diseases and zoonoses, VS should operate on the basis of scientific principles and be technically independent from political pressures. Efforts to strengthen VS also require active participation and investment on the part of both public and private stakeholders.

In the light of growing inter and intra-regional requirements and challenges facing SADC Member states, national veterinary services need to adopt a broader vision and mission in line with WTO/SPS Agreement and the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. In order to apply the OIE international standards contained in the Code chapters 1.3.3 and 1.3.4 and in particular the guidelines in articles 1.3.4.1–14, a Performance, Vision and Strategy (PVS) instrument has been developed by the OIE to be used as a standard tool to evaluate and audit VS.

The SRR has been trained on how to use this tool and a list of PVS Tool certified experts has been established globally. It is recommended that from now on national governments, donors and private investors in animal health should utilize findings by OIE certified assessors of VS of SADC Member States to facilitate decisions to be taken to strengthen national VS in order to comply with OIE international standards.

WORK PLAN AND BUDGET FOR AUGUST 2006 – JULY 2007

The overall objective of the establishing the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for SADC is to contribute to wealth creation (poverty reduction) in the region, as defined in the PRINT context, through increased productivity by improving animal health and alleviating sanitary constraints on trade of Livestock and Livestock Products (LLPs) in SADC Member States.

In order to obtain long term sustainability it is necessary to achieve at least, the main performance indicators as established within the Contribution Agreement in the following intervention areas:.

1. Audit of all VS of Member States of SADC by the end of 2008.

It is expected to bring the VS of SADC Member States to an acceptable level of capacity to prevent, control and eradicate the major diseases of economic and zoonotic importance as contained in Chapters 1.3.3 and 1.3.4 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal health Code.

Specific activities:

Each SADC Member states will be advised and assisted to identify a national institution whose experts will be trained on the application of the PVS instrument

At least four (4) SADC Member State’s VS will be evaluated and audited externally from August 2006 to July 2007 (on request) to identify gaps and deficiencies thus providing justification for public and/or private investments in the field of animal health.

This activity will be implemented in permanent relation with OIE Headquarters through selected experts “certified by OIE” (from the 2 PVS Seminars carried out at OIE HQ in May and July 2006), or in the future trough other “certified experts by OIE” from seminars to be held at regional or national level.

2. At least 120 livestock specialists trained in specialised workshops and seminars.

It is intended to develop a critical mass of an efficient and active group of professionals, scientific and technical expertise to support the activities of the National Veterinary Services.

Specific activities:

Training seminars and workshops for the second year period are indicated in Table I below.

3. National and regional investment programmes complying with OIE standards

As a result of VS evaluations and audits carried out in intervention area 1 above

Specific activities:

Strengths and weakness of national VS identified and priorities established to justify required investments and allocation of resources.

4. Training sessions for Veterinary Laboratory personnel in the region (é training sessions, 12 trainees).

Specific activities:

To be included in intervention area no 2 above.

5. Twinning laboratories from the North with laboratories in the SADC the region (2 candidates).

Specific activities:

Candidates laboratories for twining identified (may be more than 2 laboratories) and meetings organized with them in order to define and to develop the twinning process with those finally acceptable.

6. New Reference Laboratories in the SADC Region recognised by the OIE (at least 2 laboratories).

Specific activities:

Candidate laboratories in SADC Member States with relevant expertise and resources identified to undertake processes established for recognition as OIE Reference Laboratories in specific topics.

7. Applications for sanitary status recognition of SADC Member States submitted to the OIE through the Sub-Regional Representation (10).

Specific activities:

Angola and Mozambique and Tanzania to be facilitated to acquire their official recognition of freedom from Rinderpest infection by 2007.

Verification of SADC Member State’s Animal Health status by zones or compartments as per submissions to the OIE.

8. Field and technical back stopping missions conducted by the Sub-Regional Representative and other OIE personnel in SADC Member States.

Specific activities:

At least five (5) SADC Member States will be visited during the year by OIE SRR and or other OIE personnel to monitor and evaluate OIE activities implemented at national level and also to create awareness, advocacy and lobbying for compliance to OIE Standards..

9. Experts from SADC participating in OIE standards setting activities (ad-hoc and working groups, commissions and general sessions).

Specific activities:

Establish animal health scientist’s database for the SADC region (partly as a result of intervention no 2 above) and to propose them for engagement in OIE standard setting activities through the respective channels and procedures.

10. Non official notifications on animal disease outbreaks investigated and confirmation with national veterinary authorities (50).

Specific activities:

Non official information channels established and consultations initiated with the OIE Delegates in order to achieve the highest level of transparency regarding sanitary situations.

11. Emergency preparedness planning for SADC Member States and the region.

Specific activities:

Close and permanent working relationship with SADC Member States established in order to harmonize procedures and actions regarding sanitary emergencies in line with the OIE standards. SADC Member States as well as the SADC Secretariat facilitated and supported in the development and implementation of Emergency Preparedness Plans.


CONCLUSIONS

In view of the above and taking into consideration the OIE priorities as indicated in the 4 th OIE Strategic Plan, the activities of the OIE SRR for the period August 2006 to July 2007 will focus mainly on:

  • Capacity building to strengthen the Veterinary Services in line with the OIE standards; and
  • Enhancing transparency to improve Detection, Identification and Monitoring (DIM) systems in SADC Member State for them to respond timely, rapidly and efficiently in preventing, controlling and eventual eradication of animal diseases and zoonoses within the region.

Capacity building through training seminars and workshops (See Table I below.) and the evaluation/auditing of VS using the PVS instrument will be implemented in permanent relation and very close collaboration with OIE Headquarters.

All together three (3) workshops/seminar are expected to be organized by the OIE in the SADC Region from August 2006 to July 2007 using funds from the EC under the Contribution Agreement. These seminars and workshops are expected to be organized in collaboration with the FANR Directorate through the PRINT Project, SADC Member States and other partners in particular the FAO. Funds for the workshop no. 4 will come from the OIE World Fund for Animal Health.

Funds remaining from the first allocation are requested to be retained by the OIE and used for ad-hoc expatriate support for facilitation and resource persons for the capacity building activities. It is recommended that a request for the second payment of EURO 179,000 (see Table II) be submitted to the Contracting Authority, the Executive secretary of SADC.

The OIE Sub Regional Office business plan will be updated accordingly to include actual dates and resource allocation for the activities planed up to July 2007.