The animal health and welfare sector faces major challenges affecting its productivity, growth and sustainability. Some of these include: High disease burden, Veterinary governance, Institutional and human resource capacities, Inputs, markets and trade, Research, technology and knowledge management, Investment and partnerships, and Emerging issues of public health concern at the animal-human-environment interfaces.
The African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources and other stakeholders have identified priority areas for strengthening the animal resources sector, as identified through six strategic areas highlighted in the Animal Health Strategy for Africa (2019-2035). These include: (1) Strengthening animal health policy and institutional frameworks; (2) Reducing disease risks and impacts on animals, humans and environment; (3) Strengthening animal health interventions to address current and emerging issues of public health concern at the human-animal-environment interfaces, (4) Improving capacities, access to inputs, markets and trade in animal resources, (5) Strengthening science, innovation, research and knowledge management; and (6) Enhancing partnerships, investment and resourcing of the animal health sector.
AU-IBAR is addressing these challenges through a series of activities that are being implemented in close collaboration with other African partners, including Regional Economic Communities, Departments of Veterinary Services in African Union Member States. From 2019 going forth a number of activities have been carried out to support the
implementation of the Animal Health Strategy for Africa and to address the aforementioned challenged. In addition, the emerging field of Animal welfare, through the animal Welfare Strategy for Africa is providing direction in ensuring that animals are treated as sentient beings through the implementation of good animal welfare practices for a competitive and sustainable animal resource sector. This edition provides an overview of the Animal Health Strategy for Africa.
Other articles included highlight some activities that have supported these efforts towards strengthening animal health and welfare, and include: Providing opportunities in the delivery of animal health services; strengthening continental and regional Animal Health Networks, such as the East Africa Regional Animal Health Network (EA-RAHN); and
elevating the role of the animal sector in mitigating COVID-19 Containment measures.
With the emergence of COVID-19, there is greater awareness that protecting animals, protects people and the environment. The adaptation of the one-health approach has continued to create solutions that recognise and take advantage of the inter-connectivity between humans, animals and the environment.
The increase in zoonotics, and other emerging diseases from animals, calls for increased monitoring and management of animal resources to better anticipate transmission before it occurs. Additionally, One Health has also been seen to offer fresh ideas for addressing antimicrobial resistance. Throughout the food chain, animal health measures will be deemed critical in transforming safe animal trade and ensuring food safety.
Stakeholder engagement has remained at the fore of AU-IBAR’s activity and programme implementation. This kind of collaboration has led to the successful management of animal resources. We would like to thank our various stakeholders, and key programme donors, such as the European Union who have worked hand-in-hand to prevent
disease outbreaks across species and across the continent.