In Eastern Africa, the public sector currently leads efforts to control Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), a highly contagious viral livestock disease with severe economic repercussions. However, private sector innovation and resources could make a big difference in tackling this disease. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the intergovernmental institution responsible for global animal health, asserts that “public-private partnerships (PPP) is a joint approach in which both sectors agree responsibilities and share resources and risks to achieve common objectives that deliver benefits in a sustainable manner.” If applied properly, such partnerships that leverage public and private resources could dramatically improve animal health in Eastern Africa — but first, we need to raise awareness of the PPP model and its benefits.
Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the OIE has recently conducted research across 181 member countries and published a handbook that shows governments and organizations how to develop sustainable and impactful veterinary PPPs. Using the OIE PPP Handbook as a starting point, the AgResults FMD Vaccine Challenge Project aims to catalyze the formation of new PPPs to strengthen the FMD vaccine value chain (VVC) in six target countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Managed by GALVmed, the Project is a Pay-for-Results prize competition that encourages the development and uptake of high-quality FMD vaccines tailored to meet the needs of Eastern Africa. The competition uses a cost-share to reduce the cost-per-dose for buyers, enabling public and private sector actors to better combat FMD through more consistent purchases of the new vaccines.
Drawing from the OIE PPP Handbook guidelines, our team will develop a PPP framework that will capture the unique challenges and opportunities for establishing partnerships in the FMD VVC in Eastern Africa, including production, purchasing, distribution, vaccination and post-vaccination monitoring. This framework will form the basis for future development and realization of actual PPP arrangements between public and private sector entities in the region to address the inherent challenges in the FMD VVC.
A first step is to collaborate with EuFMD and OIE on an online course they’ve developed, entitled “Applying Public-Private Partnerships to the Control of FMD and Similar Transboundary Diseases”. Public and private sector representatives from our six target countries are participating in this course, along with our Project team. The course is enhancing these representatives’ understanding of the benefits and key factors to create successful and long-lasting FMD control partnerships.
In the coming months, our team will engage course participants and other key stakeholders from the region to discuss the opportunities and barriers to PPP formation in each country. This input will form the basis of the PPP Framework, customised to the unique environments of the Project’s target countries. Once the framework is developed and validated, we will further promote its use as a catalyst for development of successful PPPs, beneficial to the FMD VVC in Eastern Africa.
For more information on the FMD Vaccine Challenge Project, visit the project pages on the GALVmed and AgResults websites.
Written by Nina Henning, the Team Lead of the AgResults FMD Vaccine Challenge Project.