Gaborone - Botswana
The OIE Sub-Regional Representation for Southern Africa (SRR-SA) was set up in 2005, in Gaborone, Botswana and currently occupies 4 full-time positions, amongst which a recently recruited administrative and financial assistant.
The year 2009 was a very active and busy one, not only in terms of disease outbreaks in the sub-region but also in terms of capacity-building interventions by the OIE SRR-SA (six capacity-building events organised), ranging from Rift Valley fever management and WAHIS-based reporting, over import risk assessment to veterinary education and communication.
In February, OIE and FAO signed a two-way agreement towards the establishment of the Regional Animal Health Centre for Southern Africa (with new offices occupied at the Ministry of Agriculture and a considerable increase in staff). Unfortunately, the signing of a formal tripartite agreement between FAO, OIE and AU-IBAR for the establishment of the Regional Animal Health Centre is still awaited.
The year 2009 was also a success in terms of administrative and financial achievements, with the successful completion of the SADC-EU Grant Contribution Agreement with the OIE (9th EDF) and the start-up of the “Better Training for Safer Food” programme (DG SANCO).
GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGE OF THE REPRESENTATION
The Sub-Regional Representation covers 14 out of the 15 countries* of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which the Executive Secretariat is also based in Gaborone, Botswana.
(*) Note that the Seychelles have re-joined the SADC in the course of 2008, bringing to 15 the number of SADC Member States. Seychelles is not yet a member of the OIE.
DISEASE SITUATION REPORT (latest reports)
The primary objective of the OIE is to prevent the spread of animal diseases in the world, hence the purpose of establishing the World Animal Health information System (WAHIS). The Sub-Regional Representation strongly emphasises timely and accurate notification obligations of OIE Member Countries and advocates judicious use of available scientific animal health information for decision making for disease prevention and containment.
Non-official information e.g. from mass media on animal disease outbreaks or abnormal epidemiological events is followed up for verification with the national veterinary authorities concerned.
Official notifications and informal reports on OIE listed diseases : new outbreaks recorded in 2009. Sources : WAHID and OIE SRR-SA.
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)
Angola reported for the first time since 1974/75 an outbreak of SAT-2 type FMD alleged to be an incursion from neighbouring Zambia . The disease was suspected at the end February 2009, confirmed the first week of March 2009 and reported to the OIE the first week of June 2009. The situation in Angola remains unresolved.
There have been sporadic cases of FMD in young cattle within the vaccination zone in Northern Botswana around Maim area where FMD was previously reported.
A SAT-1 FMD outbreak was declared by South Africa on September 9th. Affected cattle were identified in Mpumalanga province at Makoko diptank on the border between the FMD Buffer Zone and FMD Infected Zone ( Kruger National Park ). As the outbreak occurred in the OIE-recognized FMD Buffer Zone, it did not affect the FMD free status of South Africa . It would appear that the outbreak occurred in vaccinated cattle.
Rift Valley Fever (RVF)
The RVF outbreaks notified by Madagascar in December last year 2008 have yet to be resolved according to the follow up reports 1, 2 and 3.
South Africa sent a notification to the OIE declaring that the outbreaks of RVF which started at the beginning of 2008 in the Mpumalanga province were eventually resolved.
At the same time new outbreaks were notified on the 18 th of March 2009 in the Kwazulu — Natal province close to the border with Lesotho . This outbreak was officially reported to have been resolved in July 2009, through a final report submitted to WAHIS. An outbreak in sheep, in the Lions River area, which started on June 4th, was resolved on June 30th. Farmers are normally advised to vaccinate cattle, sheep and goats regularly in high-risk areas, especially in years of high rainfall. Vaccination is thus practiced on a continuous basis but stepped up in high-risk areas.
A total of five (5) new RVF out breaks were reported in Madagascar in Nov/Dec 2008. The outbreaks were reported as having being resolved in April 2009.
The RVF outbreak on the Ile de Mayotte ( France ) which occurred in July 2008 was been resolved but sentinel surveillance is being maintained.
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease in Reunion ( France )
A case (1) occurred in January and was reported to the OIE in February through France's OIE Delegate and CVO. This disease of cattle had already been diagnosed in cattle in 2003 in Reunion with a similar epidemiology.
American Foulbrood of honey bees (AFB) in South Africa .
The Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) has been surveying honeybee colonies and retail honey in South Africa for the presence of American Foul Brood (AFB), an extremely serious brood disease of honeybees. This disease, caused by the spore-forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae, had thus far never been reported in sub-Saharan Africa . In other parts of the world AFB has caused large scale colony losses and as it is extremely contagious and very difficult to eradicate, it has been the subject of extensive eradication and control programmes.
Honey and other honeybee products entering South Africa are required by law to be irradiated, in an effort to prevent the disease from entering the local honeybee population. Unfortunately, AFB was found in some colonies and apiaries in the Western Cape . The disease was reported to the OIE on the 3rd of April 2009.
The outbreak remains unresolved while the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has recently established AFB Joint Operations Centre (JOC), which has released inspection guidelines for all beekeepers. Any person in control of one or more swarm(s) of honeybees has to provide detailed information on their apiary health status.
As a result of this survey, it is now confirmed that the contagious bee disease has now surfaced beyond the so called "capensis line", raising fears it could have spread from Cape honey bees to the African honey bee. The "capensis line" is a management barrier intended to keep the Cape honey bee Apis mellifera capensis separate from the African bee variety, Apis mellifera scutellata. It runs approximately from Port Elizabeth through Cradock and up to about the Gariep ( Orange ) River. The bacteria were found in 4 out of 24 tested bulk honey samples north of the line. Whether or not the disease has crossed the line in bee colonies themselves would only be revealed in test samples.
According to 258 test results so far, 30 percent of hives south of the capensis line are infected in Bonnievale, Cape Town, Ceres, Durban-ville, Fish Hoek, Grabouw, Hermanus, Maitland, Milnerton, Montagu, Oudtshoorn, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Uniondale, Vredendal, Wellington, and Worcester.
Lumpy Skin Disease in Namibia .
Lumpy skin disease normally occurs sporadically in Southern Africa . An increase in the geographical distribution and incidence of LSD has been noted as indicated in animal health information submitted through SADC Livestock Information Management System (LIMS)
African Swine Fever in Namibia and Tanzania (closed)
As a result of the WAHIS training course conducted in Lilongwe, Malawi, several outstanding outbreaks and disease events have formally been resolved (closed), amongst which the ASF outbreaks in Tanzania (reported in March 2008).
An outbreak in Namibia occurred in April 2009 at Simons Vlei Farm, Onesi, in Omusati province, in domestic pigs and was attributed to contacts with wild warthogs. Part of the country is considered endemic for ASF. Pigs are normally raised in bio-secure pens/compartments to avoid contact with wild warthogs.
As a result of the WAHIS training course conducted in Lilongwe , Malawi , the declaration of rabies in the capital Luanda , which was long overdue, was finally submitted to the OIE on April 24th. Shortly afterwards, a final report was submitted, declaring the event resolved (May 7th, 2009). Rabies is definitely on the increase in Southern Africa and calls for major interventions based on regional approach.
Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR)
PPR has been reported in many African countries between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea . Until last year 2008 the disease extended as far south as Kenya and Uganda in East Africa and Gabon and DRC on the west. In January 2009 PPR was officially reported to the OIE by the United Republic of Tanzania as an incursion from Kenya . This is the first time the disease is being reported in the country as previous serological surveys in early 2000 did not detect any antibodies of PPR. This outbreak reported in Northern Tanzania at Soitsambu village along the border with Kenya is claimed to have been resolved following vaccinations of around 1.5 million small ruminants (event declared resolved on the 7th of April 2009).
There is urgent need for OIE Reference laboratories on PPR, the likes of CIRAD-Montpellier in France or IAH Pirbright in the UK to assist Tanzania to establish the extent of the spread of the disease from north to south. Indeed, SADC Member States have every reason to be concerned that PPR is no longer an exotic disease in the region and could easily spread further south to Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and beyond. There is therefore a need for better knowledge on the movement of small ruminants between SADC Member States and availability of diagnostic tools to recognize PPR.
Pandemic A-type H1N1 Influenza
HINI outbreaks in Northern America and subsequently in other parts of the world, finally reached Africa and the sub-region, with cases being reported in Angola, Botswana, the DRC, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Reunion, the Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The OIE Sub-Regional Representation has consistently informed OIE Delegates, stakeholders and the general public of the OIE's stance on this flu epidemic, insisting on the separation of the disease in man from that of A Influenza in pigs. All communiqués issued by the OIE have also been posted on the Africa website.
TECHNICAL PROGRESS REPORT
GOOD GOVERNANCE OF VETERINARY SERVICES
The only remaining countries in the SADC region to apply for PVS assessment are Angola and South Africa . All countries which applied for PVS have been assessed, except Botswana (scheduled for early 2010).
The capacity building of veterinary services staff is one of the core activities, funded under the EU – SADC Grant Contribution Agreement . Capacity building focuses on laboratory personnel, senior veterinary officers, and other animal health scientists. OIE's priority task is to improve animal health worldwide and to do so capacity building for the national Veterinary Services is paramount in support of their efforts to participate in the development and application of international standards.
In 2009, the OIE Sub Regional Representation for Southern Africa in collaboration with OIE Headquarters and the Regional Representation for Africa, managed to (co)organise and (co)fund 11 (eleven) capacity building activities, followed by an (ongoing) evaluation of its capacity building activities, conducted since 2007/08 :
February OIE Regional seminar on "Re-emergence of Rift Valley Fever in southern Africa : how to better predict and respond". The meeting which took place from February 16 - 18th, in Bloemfontein (FS), South Africa, was attended by 80 delegates from national veterinary and public health services from 18 southern and eastern African and Indian Ocean countries, as well as representatives from regional and international organizations, such as AU-IBAR, FAO, OIE HQs, GALVMed, and research centres (ARC-OVI, CIRAD, ILRI, USDA-ARS, NASA, Institut Pasteur,....). The meeting was also enriched by contributions from affected countries in West ( Senegal ) and North Africa ( Somalia ), as well as the Middle-East ( Yemen ). The report of this OIE Regional Seminar has been published online and in printed copy.
March Thanks to EDF funds, the OIE Sub-Regional Representation had 1,000 copies of the OIE fact sheet on rabies printed on A5 size. These 4 page brochures were distributed in various events, including the 2009 World Rabies Day (September).
March The OIE SRR/SA funded the participation of OIE Delegates or their designated representatives from 12 OIE member countries within SADC to the OIE International Conference on Animal Identification and Traceability in Buenos Aires , Argentina from March 23rd – 25th, 2009. The meeting was also attended by numerous representatives from the private sector in southern Africa , as well as by the OIE Sub-Regional Representative, Dr. Mtei.
April The OIE regional joint training course on WAHIS and WAHID implementation for animal disease notification focal points (advanced course, following the first course organized in 2006 in Nairobi) and aquatic animal health focal points (basic course, dedicated to aquatic diseases) took place at the Center for Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases (AU) in Lilongwe, Malawi from April 21 – 24th , 2009. The training course was conducted by the Head of the OIE Animal health Information Department, Dr Karim Ben Jebara and the Programme officer, Dr. Laure Weber. The course was attended by 10 countries (for the aquatic part) and 9 countries (for the disease notification part): Angola , Botswana , DRC, Lesotho , Malawi , ( Mozambique ), Namibia , Swaziland , Tanzania , Zambia and Zimbabwe . None of the South African focal attended the training course because of the presidential elections in that country (April 22nd), while the participants from Madagascar were refused to attend by their government. Mauritius did not attend for unknown reasons. One participant from Mozambique did not reply (in time) to the invitation and travel logistics could not be organized. Four (4) reports that had been pending for weeks or months, were finalized with the concerned focal points-, one immediate notification, two final reports and an annual report were submitted during the workshop using the WAHIS official application. The training course was funded under the DG SANCO programme for 'Better Training for Safer Food'.
June The OIE SRR-SA, in close collaboration with the OIE International Trade Department conducted a joint seminar with WTO, which was postponed by the latter in December 2008 due to logistical problems. The seminar eventually took place from June 8 – 11, 2009 in Maseru , Lesotho . Part of the seminar was funded under the DG SANCO programme for 'Better Training for Safer Food', while the other part was funded by the WTO. Twelve countries - Botswana , Lesotho [host], Malawi , Mauritius , Mozambique , Namibia South Africa, Seychelles , Swaziland , Tanzania , Zambia and Zimbabwe participated in this seminar with a total number of 42 persons representing either SPS National Enquiry Points (NEPs) or National Notification Authorities (NNAs). The OIE break-out sessions on day 2 and day 4 were attended by 29 people from the 12 countries participating including OIE staff. This represents 70% of the total number of participants. A very short session on practical experiences from import authorities by the participating countries i.e. South Africa and Tanzania, a session already curtailed in the draft programme approved in 2008, turned out to generate a lot of discussion and debate, which goes to show that future seminars should not only focus on top-down transfer of knowledge to participants, but also allow for horizontal exchange of information between participating countries.
June The OIE Sub-Regional Representation provided financial and logistical support for Dr Baratang Alison Lubisi to attend the 14th WALVD conference and the 9th OIE seminar on the veterinary laboratory networks and networking, from June 15 — 21st in Madrid, Spain. Dr Lubisi is the designated OIE expert for the OIE Reference Laboratory on African Swine Fever (ASF) at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI) in Pretoria and is expected to be nominated the designated successor of Dr Truuske Gerdes (retired) for the OIE Reference Laboratory facilities on bluetongue, Rift Valley fever, African horse sickness and lumpy skin disease at the same Institute. The World Association for Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (WAVLD)'s conference was aimed at providing an international scientific forum where interesting discoveries and challenges related to the laboratory aspects of animal disease control were presented and discussed. The OIE seminar emphasized the need for veterinary laboratories to form working partnerships in the interest of successful disease control both regionally and internationally. The latest developments in the epidemiology, diagnosis and other matters related to African swine fever were discussed at the annual meeting of National African Swine Fever Laboratories.
July A training course on rabies laboratory diagnosis was organized in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa and the Southern and Eastern Africa Rabies Group (SEARG) and conducted at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute which is OIE Reference Laboratory for Rabies with Dr Claude Sabeta, as the designated OIE expert. The training for 14 participants (the representative from the DRC was prevented from boarding the flight in Kinshasa ) took place from July 26th — 30th, 2009. A Letter of Agreement (LoA) was signed between the OIE Sub Regional Representation and the ARC-OVI to the tune of ZAR 76,000 (approximately EUR 6,500) to conduct this training. In addition, the OIE supported the participants through travel, per diems and terminal expenses. The training course was funded under the SADC — EU Grant Contribution Agreement with OIE (EDF).
September Deans of veterinary schools / faculties together with Registrars and Chairpersons of veterinary statutory bodies (Veterinary Councils) of SADC Member States met to discuss the growing gap between the increased demands for the veterinary profession and the decreasing supply in terms of the number of veterinarians graduating and/or willing to work for government veterinary services. The theme of the seminar was titled "Veterinary education in southern Africa: matching supply and demand", and it took place in Arusha , Tanzania from September 2 - 4 th . Participants were drawn from both public (official) and private sector, with over 45 delegates from all SADC Member States except Angola , The seminar was also attended by OIE staff from Gaborone , Botswana and Bamako , Mali and the OIE headquarters in Paris , France .
Participants at the OIE Sub-regional seminar on veterinary education in southern Africa .
The seminar focused on the following four issues, which fitted well into the global conference on "Evolving Veterinary Education for a Safer World", organized in Paris in October 2009: (a) current and future needs for qualified veterinarians in southern Africa and how to meet these needs at regional level, (b) matching the veterinary curriculum with novel developments in veterinary science and veterinary education, (c) enhancing better coordination between veterinary statutory bodies and veterinary and para-veterinary schools and faculties at national and regional level and (d) enhancing better coordination, collaboration and harmonization at regional and international level. The seminar was funded under the WAHWF contribution.
September R epresentatives of veterinary services and the communication units (where they exist) from English speaking African countries met with communication and press professionals in the region to discuss how to better package and disseminate animal health information through the various communication and information channels that exist today, from the written press, over television to blogs and sms. The seminar, which took place in Gaborone, Botswana on September 22nd and 23rd, included the participation of public (official) veterinary services, private sector representatives (e.g. the Southern African Poultry Association) and consumers (Consumers International), and was attended by over 65 delegates from 21 OIE member countries, as well as representatives from the OIE offices in Gaborone, Botswana, Tunis, Tunisia and the OIE headquarters in Paris, France. Communication professionals came from both government and the private sector, such as e.g. Agence France Presse (AFP) and The East African (Nation Media Group Kenya). Case studies were presented from various countries in Africa, Ghana , Nigeria , Egypt , Somalia , Kenya , Botswana , Angola and Namibia . Debates during the meeting demonstrated the mistrust that sometimes exists between the two professions and the need for strengthening communication units within the veterinary services, along with the development of communication policies and strategies to bridge the gaps. The seminar was funded under the WAHWF contribution.
October The OIE Sub-Regional Representation gave financial and logistical support to three deans of veterinary faculties in the sub-region ( Madagascar , Zambia , Zimbabwe ) to attend the OIE Global Conference on "Evolving Veterinary Education for a Safer World", organized in Paris , France , from October 12-14th 2009.
November The OIE Sub-Regional Representation gave financial and logistical support to three deans of veterinary faculties in the sub-region ( Tanzania , Zambia , and Zimbabwe ) to attend a workshop and one-day consultation with the OIE Collaborating Centre for Training in Integrated Livestock and Wildlife Health and Management ( University of Pretoria , South Africa ) from November 8 — 11 th , 2009.
December With approval from the OIE Headquarters, the OIE Sub-Regional Representation commissioned an evaluation of activities undertaken under the SADC-EU Grant Contribution Agreement with OIE (2005 - 2009) in order to assess its impact and identify avenues for a renewal of the Contribution Agreement under 10 th EDF. The mission will be conducted by Dr. Anton Van Engelen between December 7 th and 28 th , 2009 who will visit Paris, ( France ), Gaborone ( Botswana ), Pretoria ( South Africa ) and Dar es Salaam ( Tanzania ) to meeting some of the beneficiaries and stakeholders.
The Sub-Regional Representation actively insists on the notification requirements of OIE member countries and will contact OIE delegates when rumours of important new outbreaks or epidemiological events are not followed by official notifications to OIE in a reasonable lapse of time (e.g. rabies and foot-and-mouth disease in Angola). The issue of notification is also part of any country visit conducted. The following screen-shot combines the reporting status of SADC member countries for 2008 and 2009 (so far).
WAHID © Reporting summary on November 20 th , 2009
It appears from this table that countries not or less complying with (standard) reporting requirements are Mauritius and Zimbabwe. In terms of immediate notifications, 7 out of the 14 OIE member countries reported a total of 12 outbreaks in the course of 2009 (recorded on November 20th, 2009). Most of these outbreaks are related to foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks (in most, if not all cases, of the SAT-2 serotype), as well as Rift Valley Fever. Six (6) outbreaks are still active at this point in time. The average number of follow-up reports submitted is 2 to 3 (2.7) with a maximum of 8 ( South Africa ). All events re ported in 2008 are now closed and/or resolved.
SADC Livestock Information Management System (LIMS), an information management system aimed at national reporting by Member States to SADC of data on livestock trade and marketing, animal production and animal health, is now operational in all 15 countries and should hopefully lead to improved reporting in months and years to come.
TWINNING AND REFERENCE LABORATORIES
The region still boasts to have the highest number of OIE Reference Laboratories in Africa . Overall, eight (8) diagnostic facilities for seven (7) diseases are recognized in two (2) laboratories :
The (likely) designation of Dr Alison Lubisi as designated expert for LSD, RVF, BT and AHS, after the retirement of Dr. G.H. "Truuske" Gerdes in March 2009, is long overdue.
Three OIE twinning agreements with southern African laboratories are now operational: two with the Botswana NVL (avian influenza and Newcastle disease; and CBPP) and one with the South Africa ARC-OVI (avian influenza and Newcastle disease). Meanwhile it has been agreed that FAO will complement the BVNL Sebele Twinning arrangement to provide laboratory hardware for HPAI and Newcastle diagnosis.
A letter by the OIE Director-General dated March 3 rd , 2009, circulated to all regional and sub-regional representations of the OIE, has reiterates the OIE's willingness to coordinate and collaborate with FAO and REC's when it comes to twinning of veterinary laboratories.
Another twinning agreement was officially requested since February 16th, 2009 and it is long been-awaited between the OIE Reference Laboratory for EUS at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand and the Microbiology Department at the University of Zambia, as recommended during the Maputo meeting (June 2008) on aquatic animal diseases and international standards.
The last twinning agreement to be requested is for twinning between the Botswana NVL ( Gaborone ) and the OIE Reference Laboratory on Trichinella , the Istituto Superiore di Sanita (ISS) in Rome , mainly in view of food safety of donkey meat for export.
As far as Collaborating Centers are concerned, there are now two centers recognized by the OIE, based at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute ( Pretoria ) in South Africa :
The Meat Inspection Training Centre (MITC) in Lobatse , Botswana , is in the process of applying for recognition as an OIE Collaborating Centre for veterinary public health.
PARTICIPATION OF AFRICAN EXPERTS IN STANDARD SETTING ACTIVITIES OF THE OIE
The activities foreseen by OIE and specified in the SADC-EU Grant Contribution Agreement , seek not only to increase the number of African experts in the various standard setting bodies of the OIE (commissions, working groups and ad hoc groups) but also to increase the involvement of African veterinary services and especially the OIE delegates and subject matter focal points in the various phases of the standard setting processes, such as providing comments to the Technical and Scientific Commission and participate in debates during the World Assembly.
This programme has been implemented, to start with through the design of a small MS Access based database that should help the OIE office identify possible experts. This database was commissioned in December 2007 and delivered in January 2008. Specific data-entry sheets have been designed in February 2008 and data-entry has been completed in March with data from 174 experts entered.
The table below lists the Southern African OIE experts (2009). The OIE Delegates in the SADC region (as per November 20 th ) are listed below :
Experts from the various OIE commissions, working groups and ad-hoc groups, who are nationals of
OIE Delegates from the SADC Member States as per November 20 th , 2009.
ISSUES OF GROWING IMPORTANCE IN THE REGION
Beyond purely disease-related issues, which characterise the livestock sector in Southern Africa, several cross-cutting issues render this part of Africa exceptional, in particular:
Wildlife and conservation: the region is home to the continent's major conservation areas and game parks, going through a profound restructuring as transfrontier conservation areas (TFCA's) are set up, challenging existing or potential domestic animal disease statuses within and across countries. The presence of wildlife, susceptible to or acting as a reservoir for major diseases of domesticated animals is closely Linked to these challenges, for instance foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever.
Compliance to import requirements of the EU and commodity-based trade: several countries in southern Africa have managed to meet OIE requirements and therefore enable to export beef and derived products to western markets ( US , Europe) and Asia . Countries like Namibia , Botswana , South Africa and Swaziland have attained a high level of disease control by putting in place elaborate zoning/compartments as well as registration and traceability systems, which enable them to export to premium-price markets. At the same time, the region is increasingly challenging OIE standards that pertain to the inherent safety of processed meats and derived products, irrespective of the disease status of country or zone. The so-called commodity-based trade approach seeks to extend principles of HACCP and Codex Alimentarius to guarantee safe and better trade..
As elsewhere in Africa, southern Africa is increasingly inundated with veterinary drugs and biologicals from non-traditional suppliers and countries, which represents a challenge in terms of registration of these products. No region-wide registration process currently exists and capacity to enhance a mere documental approach to registration by actual laboratory testing and residue control is lacking in most countries, even in South Africa .
Aquatic animal biosecurity or the prevention and containment of aquatic diseases, is a fairly new concern in the region, but is gaining momentum as the aquaculture and riverine farming industry is taking off. The recent introduction of Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome in the Chobe-Zambezi river basin (in 2006 probably) has been a wake-up call for veterinary and competent (fisheries) authorities alike and has triggered initiatives, both in terms of capacity building for effective policy and legislation frameworks to address the problem.
MEETINGS & CONFERENCES
Throughout the year, the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for Southern Africa maintained close ties with the SADC Secretariat and was therefore involved in all the regional actions and initiatives related with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) Directorate. OIE SRR participated actively in various coordination platforms set up by SADC, and donors of livestock projects like the EU and AfDB, together with the 2 partner organisations – FAO and AU-IBAR.
The OIE SRR takes advantage of regional conferences and seminars organised by partner agencies to promote the OIE and its missions depending on the subject of discussion.
Missions carried out in 2009
Meetings organised with the support of the SRR during 2009
Meetings attended by SRR staff representing the OIE during 2009
The Sub-Regional Representation has moved out of the rented offices on Old Lobatse Road at the beginning of October 2009 to occupy new office space at the Ministry of Agriculture (the so-called ‘red block', next to the Ministry's headquarters, where 16 offices were allocated to the OIE (12) and the FAO Country office ( 4). From these 12 offices, the OIE occupies 4 offices, the FAO-ECTAD unit 4 and the AU-IBAR representation also 4.
On November 10 th , 2009 the OIE Deputy Director-General, Dr. Monique Eloit led the official hand-over ceremony of the keys to the new premises. Indeed, on November 10th, 2009 the Deputy Director-general was given the keys to the new offices from the representative of the Minister of Agriculture of Botswana, Dr Moetapele Letshwenyo in the presence of representatives of the two partner organizations of the OIE in the Regional Animal Health Centre for Southern Africa : FAO (ECTAD) and AU (IBAR). The former was represented by the FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Juan Lubroth and the latter by the Director of AU-IBAR, Dr. Ahmed El-Sawalhy.
Dr. Monique Eloit, OIE Deputy-Director General, accepting the (symbolic) key to the new OIE offices (including the RAHC-SA) from the hands of Dr. Moetapele Letshwenyo , Deputy Permanent Secretary
In her admittance speech, Dr Monique Eloit thanked the Government of Botswana for the generous offer to host the OIE Representation and its partners within the Ministry's walls and expressed the wish that the physical proximity of Ministry and Representation would lead to enhanced cooperation and synergistic efforts for the benefit of animal health and welfare in Botswana and in southern Africa. She specifically thanked Dr Moetapele Letshwenyo , who, as previous OIE Delegate and now as Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, had been instrumental in brokering this hosting arrangement.
The Sub-Regional Representation now benefits from a modern and conducive working environment with spacious offices, ample parking space and up-to-date telecommunication, networking and multi-media services, along with a 30-person meeting room which is shared with the Ministry staff.
In practical terms, the activities of the OIE SRR-SA remained largely dictated by the SADC-EU Grant Contribution Agreement with OIE , which is in force until the end of 2009, while some activities were funded under the new ‘Better Training for Safer Food' programme, funded by the EC's DG SANCO.
Plans are currently underway to engage in consultations on how to sustain the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for Southern Africa from OIE's own funds and voluntary contributions from partners as from 2010. As a first measure, the OIE has commissioned a short-term consultancy to assess the impact of the afore-mentioned SADC-EU Grant Contribution Agreement with OIE, implemented between 2005 and 2009. The consultant conducted interviews with all stakeholders, in Paris , in Gaborone , and in two selected beneficiary countries : South Africa and Tanzania . The primary output of the evaluation (report expected in January 2010) will be a report intended for the Director-General of the OIE, the SADC Executive Secretary and the Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in Botswana, assessing the degree to which the expected results and performance indicators listed in the Agreement have been attained, and indicating strengths and weaknesses of its implementation by the OIE and opportunities for future engagements. The secondary output of the evaluation will be a set of documents, again intended for the Director-General of the OIE, the SADC Executive Secretary and the Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in Botswana, assessing the possible way forward, i.e. the broad outlines of a renewed Contribution Agreement, based on a tripartite agreement between the OIE, SADC and the EC, within the framework of the 10th EDF programme ( Regional Indicative Programme for Southern Africa, entrusted to the Regional Authorising Officer of the EDF for SADC, the Executive Secretary).
The OIE SRR SA is happy to report the recruitment as from June 2009, of Miss Mpho Mantsho , the new administrative and financial assistant, who in very little time, has been instrumental in achieving the targets of the 2009 work plan.
The recruitment of an OIE deputy-representative has been initiated and should be completed by the end of January 2010 at latest, with a possible inception by March 2010. This position will be funded by USDA through the OIE World Animal Health and Welfare Fund.
In addition to activities listed in the technical report, the OIE SRR-SA also pursued the regular updating of the OIE-Africa website (online since October 31 st , 2008 at www.rr-africa.oie.int), and various other initiatives targeting the visibility of the office and OIE in southern Africa.
The SRR-SA began its activities in January 2006, with the appointment of a Sub-Regional Representative and a Secretary. In 2007, a Deputy Sub-Regional Representative was recruited, but subsequently resigned for personal reasons. A Programme Officer was seconded to the OIE by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (‘France Cooperation'). The team was further strengthened as from June 2009 with the recruitment of a full-time Administrative and Financial Assistant, bringing the staff number to 4 (four) and achieving gender-equilibrium in the process. A new Deputy-Representative is still to be recruited.
The following tables present the current administrative set-up of the Sub-Regional Representation, and the official delegations we had the pleasure to welcome during 2009.
AGREEMENTS & HOSTING
REGIONAL ANIMAL HEALTH CENTER
The official agreement between the parties to the Regional Animal Health Centre (RAHC) for Southern Africa (SA) was signed, at least as far as FAO and OIE are concerned. Three bilateral Agreements were signed on the 4th of March 2009 by Dr Modibo Traore (ADG) on behalf of the FAO, and Dr Bernard Vallat (DG) on behalf of the OIE, governing the RAHC's of Gaborone, Bamako and Tunis. The endorsement of those Agreements by the host countries Mali and Tunisia respectively, are awaited. As far as Botswana is concerned, the Agreement was endorsed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Botswana on May 5th, 2009. The Agreement for Gaborone has yet to include AU-IBAR.
A new Tripartite Agreement between OIE, FAO and AU-IBAR specifically meant for Africa may be required to address the GF-TADs for Africa within the framework of the ALive platform.
A consultancy (paid for by the OIE) regarding the recognition of the Regional Animal Health Centre for Southern Africa as a subsidiarity “organization” by the SADC, was commissioned in July 2009 and is being conducted by a legal advisor, Dr. Stephen Kokerai from KOSATA Entreprises Ltd. His task is to prepare a draft application to the SADC Council of Ministers and a draft MoU with the SADC-Secretariat. Various draft versions have already been presented and amended by the representatives of SADC, OIE, FAO and AU-IBAR. It is expected that the application will be submitted to the next Council of Ministers, due in February 2010, provided consensus is reached, not only within SADC, but also within OIE, FAO and AU-IBAR, whose headquarters have raised concerns regarding the implications and added value of the subsidiarity principle, as compared to bilateral agreements each organization already has with the SADC Secretariat
The staff members of the RAHC for Southern Africa are listed on the following page. Nationalities include : Belgium , Botswana , Canada , Gambia , Germany , Malawi and S.Africa.
RAHC-SA managers and OIE and FAO guests of honour during the hand-over ceremony at the Ministry of Agriculture on November 10 th , 2009.
REGIONAL COMMISSION ACTIVITIES
Both Dr Bonaventure Mtei and Dr Patrick Bastiaensen attended the 18th Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa, from February 22 – 28th, 2009 in N'Djamena, Chad . They also attended the meeting of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa, on May 25th in Paris , France .
In N'Djamena, South Africa, on behalf of the SADC Member States, presented a request to the OIE Regional Commission of Africa to support an argument which they would like to present to the Scientific Commission the objective of which is to enable improved international market access for beef originating from Southern Africa without increasing the risk of spreading foot and mouth disease (FMD). The intention is to argue for changes to Chapter 8.5 (FMD) of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (TAHC) making it possible to prove absence of SAT serotypes of FMD virus from livestock populations without the FMD status of the wildlife population (in particular African buffalo) being an impediment to the process. The basis of the proposal is the same as that adopted for avian influenza in the TAHC (Chapter 10.4 – in which HPAI & LPAI are de-linked). The request is based on the challenges, i.e. the fact that African buffalo are long-term maintenance hosts of SAT-types of FMD viruses in southern Africa but seldom if ever show obvious clinical signs of the disease, that only rarely are these viruses transmitted from buffalo to cattle or other domestic animals, that domestic livestock can be maintained free from FMD in areas where buffalo occur, that access of beef to regulated markets is difficult for many localities because buffalo are not free from FMD and that numbers and distribution of buffalo will increase in future due to the establishment of trans-frontier conservation areas. The Director General proposed that this request be presented to the OIE Code Commission. Please also refer to page 21 for general information on this topic.
South Africa, on behalf of the University of Pretoria (UP), also submitted an application to the OIE, for the UP to be recognized as an OIE Collaborating Centre for Training in Integrated Livestock and Wildlife Health Management. This centre is supported by a consortium of partners which include the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI), Institute of Tropical Medicine (Antwerp), University of Pretoria (Centre for wildlife Studies), National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the National Department of Agriculture. This application was favourably supported by the Regional Commission for Africa and later approved (in May) by the International Committee.
In May 2009 the governing bodies of the OIE were renewed, i.e. the administrative, technical (4) and regional (5) commissions, as well as the presidency of the International Committee. The African members of the Administrative Council are henceforth Dr. Rachid Bouguedour ( Algeria ) and Dr. Florencia Massango-Cipriano ( Mozambique ). Members of the technical commissions are Dr. Gideon Bruckner ( South Africa ) and Dr. Hassan Aidaros ( Egypt ) for the Scientific Commission, Dr. Stuart Hargreaves ( Zimbabwe ) and Dr. Ahmed Mustafa Hassan ( Sudan ) for the Code Commission and Dr. Medhi El Harrak ( Morocco ) for the Biological Standards Commission. The bureau of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa is henceforth presided by Dr. William Olaho-Mukani ( Uganda ) and two Vice-presidents Dr. Mokhtar Fall ( Mauritania ) and Dr. Daouda Bangoura ( Guinea ) and Dr. Marosi Molomo ( Lesotho ) is Secretary-general. The mandate of this Commission expires in May 2012. As with other commissions in the past, this Commission too seems to take a rather passive approach to its mandate and has little or no interactions with either regional or sub-regional representation so far.
The funding of the Sub-Regional Representation for 2009 was sourced from :
the EC EDF funding provided through SADC-Secretariat to OIE (Paris)
the EC BTSF funding provided through DG SANCO to OIE (Paris)
the OIE funding provided through the World Animal Health and Welfare Fund
the funding provided by the French Cooperation through the secondment of a programme officer and a EUR 10,000 p.a. operational budget (extra-budgetary).
The Sub-Regional Representation's 2009 annual work plan and budget stood at EUR 504,402, most of which was funded through the SADC – EU Grant Contribution Agreement with OIE (work plan n° 3).
The label ‘SANCO' refers to a new project, directly funded by DG-SANCO ( Directorate General of the European Commission for Health and Consumer-protection ) under the ‘Better Training for Safer Food' programme, to be implemented in African countries by the OIE head office, with the participation of the Regional and Sub-Regional Representations.
By November 16 th , 2009 the state of disbursements, as compared to the previous years was as follows:
OIE budget (world animal health and welfare fund) [all amounts are in EUR]
DG-SANCO (better training for safer food)
The relatively low uptake is due to the fact that the training of OIE Delegates in Africa has been postponed to 2010 (January). Several expenses related to this training course will be made before the end of the year 2009.
SADC-EU Grant Contribution Agreement with the OIE (EDF)
By November 16 th , 2009 the state of disbursements, for the whole 5 years of the Agreement was as follows (all contingencies have been allocated to the budget lines “office equipment” and “operational costs”) :
(*) includes administrative and financial assistant since June 1st, 2009.
CONCLUSIONS AND 2010 OUTLOOK
In view of the pursuit of activities in 2011 and beyond, negotiations and consultations have started both with SADC-Secretariat and the EC Delegation in Botswana . It has been agreed that a voluntary final evaluation mission of the SADC-EU Grant Contribution Agreement with OIE will be organized before the end of the year, in order to objectively and independently assess the impact of the Agreement to pave the way for a new Contribution Agreement under the 10 th EDF. This mission has been conducted in December in Botswana , South Africa and Tanzania .
The OIE Deputy Director General, Dr. Monique Eloit, visited Gaborone in November and it was an excellent opportunity to sensitize all stakeholders on the need for such a renewed Agreement, in support of the OIE SRR SA.
This renewal comes at the right time, given that at SADC Secretariat level, the EDF funded projects on Promotion of Integration in the Livestock Sector (PRINT-L) and the SADC Foot-and-Mouth Disease project (SFMDP) have come to an end. Hence, as from next year, the SADC Secretariat will be left with only one animal disease-dedicated project, the AfDB funded TAD's project, which covers only 5 countries to the north of the SADC region. The signature of the formal Agreement between FAO and OIE comes therefore at an opportune time to enhance the role that the RAHC for Southern Africa could play on behalf of the SADC Secretariat.
Meanwhile, for 2010, external funding will be limited to the DG SANCO funded BTSF programme which will benefit both new OIE Delegates and OIE focal points in terms of capacity-building. BTSF does not however, allow for operational expenses due to the nature of the funding. Hence, the OIE will have to seek funding possibly through the World Animal Health and Welfare Fund or other voluntary contributions to ensure that the operation of this office for 2010 is maintained, i.e. personnel costs, office running and travel expenses. Preliminary assessment is that this would require approximately EUR 160,000, including the remuneration of the Representative, the Administrative and Finance Officer, the Secretary and the Deputy-Representative, whose recruitment should be imminent with an estimated inception in early 2010.
The shift from the EDF-funded Grant Contribution Agreement , which was closely linked to the SADC Secretariat and is aimed to benefit SADC Member States (mostly), to other funding sources, such as the DG SANCO funding, offer an opportunity for the SRR to enlarge its scope of countries to areas outside the SADC region, e.g. Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Comoros, awaiting the start-up of a Sub-Regional Representation for Eastern Africa as from 2010 or 2011. It will enable this office to be more cost-effective when conducting capacity-building activities (economies of scale) and will allow for a more targeted selection of countries to benefit from the capacity-building exercises (for various reasons related to language, field of interest or level of advancement). The planning for the capacity-building activities to be funded under the aforementioned DG-SANCO project ‘Better Training for Safer Food' will already enable this office to extend its coverage to other parts of Africa, and even beyond, e.g. the training of OIE focal points on wildlife, which will include participants from the middle-east.
After more than a full year of co-habitation with FAO-ECTAD and AU-IBAR as parties to the Regional Animal Health Centre for Southern Africa (RAHC SA) we are realizing there are challenges in some aspects of this cooperation which need to be addressed for the sake of building a stronger working team with credibility and foresight. There are differences in terms of experiences and operational efficiency coupled with profile and operational procedures which need to be addressed for better coordination and harmonization. Coupled with a likely problematic cohabitation with the FAO country office, which will soon be physically embedded in the RAHC, the OIE SRR SA will have to ensure that its own core activities and outreach programme are not compromised by these other organisations.
List of acronyms used in this report