South Sudan has an estimated livestock population of 11.7 million cattle, 12.4 million goats and 12.1 million sheep (MARF2012). But despite the country being so well endowed with livestock resources, it faces several challenges in the sector. High prevalence of diseases, poor condition of stock-routes, high insecurity and cattle raids all hinder livestock productivity. Trade in livestock and livestock products is specifically constrained by the lack of quarantine stations and export slaughter houses. This is further exacerbated by the limited diagnostic facilities, as South Sudan has only three diagnostic laboratories, namely Juba, Malakal and Wau that serve 10 states.
South Sudan has previously benefitted from training programmes in Management Skills development, Epidemiology and Surveillance, Quarantine Practices and Procedures and the ongoing training in Laboratory Techniques organized by the SMP-AH project. In addition to these, further activities are planned under the country activity plan for 2014. To expedite the implementation of the country activity plan, Dr Joseph Magona recently conducted a supervision mission in South Sudan from 28th September to 2nd October 2014. Its main objectives were to: gather an update on the status of implementation of the SMP-AH country activities; identify the challenges impeding project implementation; ascertain the status of production of national animal health bulletins; and solicit articles for the IGAD Regional Animal Health Bulletin.
Key Government officials met included the following:
Dr. Jada Rombe - Acting Vector and Disease Control /DG Vet. Services; Dr. Mabior Mabil -Acting Director of Epidemiology and Disease Information System; Mr. Robert Dumo - Focal point for laboratory, SMP – AH South Sudan; Dr. Mary Joseph - Acting Director of Veterinary Public Health; Dr. Roseline James - Veterinary Staff, CES-Juba; Dr. James Abdelwahab - Veterinary Staff, EES – Torit; Dr Augustino Atillio - Acting Director General for Extension and Pastoralist Development; and Dr. Erneo Ochi -D irector of Research and Development.
During the visit, ten cartons of the syndromic manuals (340 copies) to support the creation of awareness among livestock stakeholders on livestock disease signs and symptoms were delivered to the Directorate of Veterinary Services in South Sudan. These manuals will facilitate grassroots detection, reporting and control of livestock diseases. In addition, Certificates and Academic Transcripts for five veterinary staff from South Sudan who participated in the Training Course on Epidemiology and Surveillance conducted by the University of Nairobi on behalf of the SMP-AH project were delivered.