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Led by the ECOWAS Regional Animal Health Center (RAHC) and its technical (FAO, ECTAD, AU-IBAR, WHO, BROOKE WA) and financial (EU, World Bank, African Development Bank, Swiss Cooperation) partners, the Regional Health Networks meet annually of ECOWAS Animals (RAHN) opened this Monday, September 19, 2022, at the Vulcano Hotel in Cape Verde under the de facto patronage of the Minister of Agriculture and Environment of Cape Verde, Dr. Gilberto Silva, and the ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Ms. Masangje Toure-Lite.

This 8th meeting brings together the Directors of Veterinary Services, Coordinators of Veterinary Laboratories (RESOLOB) and Epidemiological Surveillance (RESEPI) and Heads of Veterinary Orders from all ECOWAS Member States, as well as Mauritania and Chad.

Highlights of the 2022 edition: “Horizon 2030: situation, problems and prospects for the elimination of plague of small ruminants and rabies, as well as the control of foot-and-mouth disease and contagious bovine peripneumonia, priority animal diseases in the ECOWAS region”, with the primary objective of assessing progress made by ECOWAS Member States in eliminating or controlling PPR, rabies, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and CBPP, and monitoring the implementation of action plans for RESEPI and RESOLAB.

Various speakers at the official opening of the meeting reminded of the need for joint work to overcome transboundary animal diseases in the region. The first day of the meeting on 19 September 2022 reviewed the status of implementation of the recommendations of the 7th meeting held in 2021 in Côte d’Ivoire.

The presentation by the host country, Cape Verde, highlighted the urgent need to support that country in its efforts to be recognized by the World Organization for Animal Health as a PPR- and FMD-free country. To this end, epidemiological field studies, sampling, results of serological tests, training of technical personnel, the last dates of the declaration of the two diseases and its insular situation were presented.

ECOWAS, through its Regional Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP), aims to support participating countries through the RAHC, which, in collaboration with its technical and financial partners, has developed important regional strategies and regulations related to the control and prevention of transboundary animal diseases and zoonoses.

It will be recalled that the ECOWAS Animal Health Specialist Center (RAHC) was established by an Additional Act in 2012 with the mandate to (i) coordinate activities that promote food security and nutrition, (ii) improve livelihoods by improving animal health and welfare (iii) develop animal resources by ensuring the development of appropriate regulations, and (iv) coordinate activities for the prevention and control of transboundary animal diseases and zoonoses. Since its operation in 2018, the Center has developed and adopted various regulations and regional strategies, including the Regional Animal Health and Welfare Framework Strategy, the Regional Animal Identification and Tracking Strategy (ECOLITS), the Regional PPR Elimination Strategy, the Regional Strategy for the Control of rabies Strategy and regional strategy and action plan for control of trypanosomes and tick-borne diseases. With the support of financial partners, the Center implements its strategies through the implementation of several projects to support national actions for disease control and livestock development.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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