Paris, France

OIE successfully concludes PPR pilot vaccination trials in West Africa (PPR/VSPA project)

During a two-day meeting at the OIE Headquarters in Paris, around 30 experts presented and discussed the results of the VSPA-PPR pilot project (Vaccine Standards and Pilot approach to peste des petits ruminants control in Africa).

This 24-month project was initiated by the OIE, at the request and with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and implemented in Burkina Faso and Ghana.

The project aims to contribute to the development of an overall strategy for the control and eradication of PPR (this strategy is being developed jointly by the OIE and the FAO through the GF-TADs initiative (Global Framework for the progressive control of Transboundary Animal Diseases).

By and large, the objectives of the project were attained through an approach that combined field pilot activities against PPR in Burkina Faso and Ghana, the establishment of a vaccine bank at, and the activities conducted by, the Pan-African Veterinary Vaccines Centre of the African Union (AU-PANVAC) to improve the quality of PPR vaccines that are produced in Africa.

The project’s actions were aimed at testing the influence of several factors, including:

  • The agro-ecological area of intervention (sahelian, agro-pastoral, agro-forestal, coastal)
  • The number of vaccination campaigns per year (one or two)
  • The delivery modes of the service to farmers (public or private practitioners)
  • The level of support from the project to the implementation of the vaccination campaign.

Protocols for the monitoring and evaluation of the results of field operations were associated with conventional and participatory epidemiological studies, laboratory investigations (virology, serology before and after vaccination), sociological surveys of farmers and vaccination teams, as well as assessments of herd productivity following vaccination.
The results of these studies have identified the main factors for success or failure of immunizations. They showed that:

  • Knowledge of census numbers of sheep and goats is very poor and this poses significant problems for the organization and implementation of vaccination campaigns, as well as for epidemiological monitoring.
  • PPR is endemic in both countries;
  • The vaccine used is excellent quality and can perfectly well be managed and stored throughout the distribution chain. However it is worth noting that the 100-dosage vials led to considerable losses of unused vaccine;
  • Acquired immunity following vaccination is very high and the number of outbreaks of PPR decreases dramatically in well-vaccinated areas;
  • The mobilisation of public authorities and veterinary services in particular, is crucial to the success of a mass-vaccination, typically regarded as a ‘public good’. Active participation of stakeholders are key success factors of vaccination; in order to achieve this, communication activities and awareness must be prepared and implemented with great care. The role of communication relays in the villages and the level of trust between the veterinary service agents and farmers are essential;
  • The choice of the vaccination period is crucial. The movements of animals and agricultural activities are of paramount importance in determining this period;
  • The financial contributions of farmers towards meeting the costs of vaccination are not a hindrance to the proper implementation of the vaccination campaigns;
  • The impact of vaccination on livestock mortality is immediate and lasting;
  • The concept of a regional vaccine bank proved extremely promising and easy to implement
  • The quality of the vaccines that are used must be guaranteed. The activities of the AU-PANVAC component of the project have yielded significant positive results across all vaccine producing laboratories and towards developing a continental strategy for vaccine quality, which will become an essential element of the global PPR control and eradication strategy.
  • The institutional flexibility and pragmatism of both the BMGF and the OIE have largely contributed to the success of the VSPA.

Large amounts of data have been collected and the exploitation of some of these data, in particular in terms of economic analysis, will exceed the time frame of this particular project

The findings of the closing workshop and electronic copies of the various reports (AU-PANVAC, CIRAD, OIE) will soon be available on this website.

For any additional information, contact [email protected]

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