On November 4, 2022, in Rome, Italy, the Rinderpest Book and the Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) Global Eradication Programme Blueprint – 2030 were launched. The Blueprint provides a road map for the Global Rinderpest Eradication Programme's implementation models (GREP). The focus of the PPR Global eradication will serve as inspiration for the development of strategies to eliminate other diseases, such as trypanosomiasis, that have yet to be eradicated. The Book 'Rindepest and its Eradication' - contains valuable insights for the fight against PPR, which the United Nations has pledged to eradicate by 2030.
At the launch, H.E. Ambassador Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) of the African Union Commission (AUC), stated that total eradication of PPR is possible through collective efforts, while affirming AUC's commitment to advocating and lobbying for sufficient resources for coordination, harmonisation, capacity building, and vaccination programmes at the Member State level. She further said that the current efforts of DARDE, through its specialised technical institutions like AU-IBAR and AU-PANVAC and technical partners like WOAH and FAO, are aiding the African Union Member States in their mission to eradicate the disease by the global target date of 2030.
H.E. Ambassador Josefa Sacko commended the European Union for continued support in implementing the 2nd phase of the PPR Programme. She also highlighted the African Union Commission's emphasis on eradication of PPR as a priority policy issue articulated in the Pan African Strategy for the eradication of PPR and the control of other priority small ruminants' diseases; and the Pan African Programme for the eradication of PPR (2022-2026), endorsed by the Ministers in Chad.
She highlighted several high-level commitments and decisions, such as the 2010 and 2018 decisions of the Executive Council of the African Union, as well as the recent Nairobi Declaration on the Eradication of Peste des Petits Ruminants by 2030, which calls on the AU-IBAR, The Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Member States, and technical partners to renew and strengthen their commitments to the eradication of PPR and other priority trans-boundary animal diseases (TADs).
African Ministers present from Cote D’Ivoire, Chad, Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, and Mali also gave statements of support for the Africa PPR eradication. Dr. Hiver Bousinni, Animal Health Officer, was AU-IBAR's representative at the event. Under the auspices of the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases (GT-TADs), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health, AU-IBAR facilitated the development of the second phase of the PPR Control and Eradication Programme (2022-2026).
A call for Capacity building
It was noted that the investment required to ensure Africa's self-sufficiency in PPR vaccine production is the development of the Africa Union's capacity for laboratory diagnosis and vaccine production, quality control, and vaccine deployment. The infrastructure investment in quantity and quality PPR vaccine production will benefit and support vaccine production for other priority viral animal diseases such as Lumpy skin disease, sheep and goat pox, Newcastle disease, and Rift Valley fever, among others.
About Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) epidemic
About 24 to 31 percent of the world's small ruminant population can be found in Africa, where there are nearly one billion sheep and goats. Women and young people in Africa's arid and semi-arid regions rely heavily on ruminants because they are resilient and adaptable to the effects of climate change. PPR is a highly contagious, pervasive, and lethal viral disease that threatens the livelihoods, food and nutrition security, of millions of Africans in 47 out of the 55-member nations of the African Union where it has repeatedly been recorded. In order to position the livestock sector as a major economic driver for the sustainable transformation of livelihoods and eradication of poverty, especially for livestock-dependent communities in Africa, the successful control and eradication of PPR and other important small ruminant diseases is the game charger.