|CERES No. 097 - January - February 1984 (FAO Ceres, 1984, 50 p.)|
The rinderpest situation in Africa remains serious. New outbreaks were still being reported at the end of the year. Tens of thousands of cattle have been lost in western, central, and eastern regions of the continent. Indeed, recognition is growing that rinderpest is becoming a pan-African problem threatening livestock production in almost the whole of Africa. The disease has already spread from the African continent the Near East. Without effective control measures it could reach rope.
A sustained effort to intensify control measures aimed at the ultimate eradication of rinderpest from the African continent has been launched trough an internationally coordinated vaccination campaign and follow-up programme. A major proposal for an African Rinderpest Campaign (ARC) has been prepared jointly FAO, the European Community, Organization of African States, the International Office of Episotics. If and when it becomes operational, PARC will cover 28 countries for a period of 10 years, involving some 120 million cattle an estimated cost of $83 million. At present, however, funding remains a serious problem. While the posed campaign drew general support from a meeting of donors in Brussels last June, most national government agencies represented option for a bilateral approach to the bleary. Only the European Community and FAO agreed on multilateral action. A progress report on the campaign made to the FAO Council last November stated flatly: "There is no immediate prospect of a general campaign fund for disbursement throughout the affected area. "
Rinderpest was brought under a high degree of control in the 1960s as a result of a multi-donor campaign. The disease was not, however, eradicated, and because of a number of constraints facing African governments there was a significant resurgence in 1980. Then, with funding and technical assistance provided by FAO in 1981, the situation improved markedly in a number of countries, but it continued to deteriorate in others, particularly early last year, due to the lack of follow-up measures
The proposed Pan African Campaign provides for a long-term plan of action and follow-up measures and is designed to be implemented on a continuing basis. Thus, after a one-year preparatory phase, mass vaccinations would be carried out over a four-year period in countries where rinderpest is enzootic or likely to occur. Buffer zones would be established in neighbouring countries where the disease might spread. A five-year consolidation phase would then be undertaken in order to locate any remaining disease foci and eliminate them by slaughtering diseased animals.
The most serious problem facing African governments in their efforts to control the disease has been a lack of funds. This resulted in acute shortages of equipment and laboratory facilities for the manufacture of vaccines. The administrative and distributive capacities needed for successful campaigns are also limited. In fact, the need to put veterinary services on a firm financial footing is regarded as a key factor in the PARC campaign. In many countries, funds at the disposal of national veterinary services have declined steadily over the past 10 years even while staff has been growing Personnel have been hampered accordingly in trying to provide essential services.
Although multilateral funding remains in doubt, the project proposal for the campaign has been framed in such a way that bilateral projects could easily be identified according to the preferences of individual donor governments.
Meanwhile, emergency efforts continue. The EEC is concentrating on a programme in Tanzania to establish a buffer zone for southern Africa in collaboration with the Southern African Development Coordination Conference. In Mauritania, FAO, in collaboration with the Organization of African Unity and other agencies, is taking emergency measures to protect 1.2 million head of cattle from the disease. In Ethiopia, FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) has mounted a $245 000 project to set up six vaccination teams and monitor future outbreaks. To date, FAO has provided assistance through 23 national projects and one regional amounting to $4.881 million.