Cross-border issues related to the provision of animal health services with reference to Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania

Cross-border issues related to the provision of animal health services with reference to Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania

The importance of harmonisation of animal health service provisions in East Africa

This paper highlights various issues related to provision of animal health services in areas near national boundaries with reference to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia, and also suggests ways of improving service provision and delivery in these areas. Key issues highlighted include constraints in the provision of animal health services, problems related to disease surveillance and reporting, PACE interventions, role of community-based animal health service delivery, and the need for and progress towards regional harmonisation of primary animal health care.

Problems relating to disease surveillance include:

  • inadequate resources: finances, transport, equipment etc.
  • insecurity: inaccessibility of some areas due to security problems
  • insufficient experience and skills in surveillance work, e.g. participatory epidemiology
  • inadequate professional/technical staff especially at the ground level, hence inadequate reports and information
  • severe drought: forcing livestock to move far distances outside the reach of surveillance personnel
  • livestock inaccessible because of constant movement
  • limited laboratory capacity to handle samples

The paper argues that harmonisation of primary animal health care is essential because it leads to better control of transboundary diseases; enhanced exchange of information on livestock diseases in the region; promotion of cross border trade in livestock and livestock products; and strengthening of community-based animal health care system in border areas and hence improve service delivery.

Recommendations include:

  • the promotion and support of a regional approach to disease control and surveillance
  • the support of community peace initiatives and dialogue to secure peace and therefore provide an enabling environment for animal health service delivery
  • more training/re-training of CAHWs be carried out and sustainable supervision and monitoring systems be put in place. A closer linkage with district veterinary authorities is of critical importance in this direction
  • all development agencies, institutions and organisations supporting and/or implementing CAH programs should now pay more attention to sustainability issues such as institutional support, drugs supply, economic viability etc.
  • capacity building in disease surveillance, reporting and participatory epidemiology must be given priority by veterinary authorities in the region. Further, more sensitization at the community level should be carried out, with clear message regarding the role of communities as well as CAHWs and the benefits to be derived from their participation
  • promote and support regional harmonisation of primary animal health care (CAH)
  • a comprehensive review of animal health service provision in all border districts be undertaken including identification of appropriate interventions
  • sustained awareness creation at all levels particularly for high level animal health service policy
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