Reflections on how Public-Private Partnerships can address FMD in Eastern Africa

On June 23rd 2020, the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), in collaboration with the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), launched an online course: Applying Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in the Progressive Control of FMD and Similar Transboundary Animal Diseases. I had the opportunity to attend this four-week course, and it opened my eyes to key elements of PPPs in the veterinary domain, which are highly relevant to our AgResults FMD Vaccine Challenge Project.

The course covered a range of topics, such as exploring needs and identifying opportunities for PPPs, building a business case for PPPs, and developing an enabling environment for sustainable PPPs. Participants included public and private sector stakeholders from Eastern Africa as well as other parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

During the four-week course, we went through an interactive journey of live webinars, case studies, presentations, working group discussions, and panel sessions with renowned veterinary experts and practitioners of PPPs. We were guided through Zooland, an imaginary country with livestock management and veterinary control characteristics similar to most African nations. The exercises and discussions demonstrated how PPPs can create synergies, mutual benefits, and better outcomes in the control of FMD and similar transboundary (FAST) diseases. As participants, we were asked to develop case studies and solutions relevant to our own countries and share experiences with participants from other regions. 

Of particular interest to me, the course provided vital information on how to develop a PPP Framework for the Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine Value Chain (FMD VVC) in Eastern Africa – an upcoming goal of the AgResults project. My colleague describes the role of this framework and its potential to strengthen the FMD VVC in a recent blog.

The course’s experiential learning will significantly benefit the AgResults FMD Project team as it develops and validates the PPP Framework in the coming months. We will engage the course participants from Eastern Africa as ‘PPP Champions’, drawing from their perspectives to shape the framework so that it fits the regional context and each country’s unique situation. Since PPP in the veterinary domain is an emerging concept, a standardized framework will be crucial to highlight the opportunities and challenges. It will also serve as a communication tool, sparking awareness of PPPs among stakeholders and attracting investments into the veterinary domain that could ultimately lead to effective and efficient control of FMD in the region.

I was particularly delighted to be in the inaugural group of course participants, and I look forward to further engaging with ‘PPP Champions’ in the region and beyond.

For more information on the FMD Vaccine Challenge Project, visit the project pages on the GALVmed and AgResults websites.

Written by Badi Maulidi

The other side of GALVmed’s Learning Agenda: What is working well without our help?

GALVmed’s mission focuses on improving the availability and adoption of essential animal health products for Small-scale Livestock Producers (SLPs). In this mission, we focus on the significant constraints imposed by livestock diseases and the considerable barriers in the supply of animal health products (particularly vaccines requiring an effective cold chain) into remote, rural, ‘last mile’ areas.

However, just as important as understanding these constraints and barriers is the need to understand what is already working well in the ‘last mile’. Here, our focus is on the existing availability of animal health products to SLPs without any form of intervention.

We are routinely surprised at how strong this is for some animal health product classes and for some SLP segments. The below table shows the availability of several classes of poultry vaccines in the last mile in Nigeria (from a sample of 6 agrovet retailers with 5 found to have a fridge).

Furthermore, the SLP perception of product quality appears to be good suggesting that vaccine failure is not experienced (suggesting that the cold chain works reasonably well). An example from a 2019 M&E in Nigeria demonstrates this perception:

The above examples are a helpful reminder that product availability and adoption by SLPs is not uniformly bad – and that GALVmed’s work needs to focus on the considerable unmet SLP needs that still exist.

Written by Neil Gammon

Learning from GALVmed’s legacy

It is standard procedure to measure the progress and effects of a project within its lifetime, or immediately thereafter. However, GALVmed’s Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) function also considers the performance of projects a few years down the line and the legacy that these projects have left behind. Did they succeed or fail in the long term? Were our underlying assumptions about sustainability correct or incorrect? And, what can we learn from what we have done before?

In 2016, GALVmed M&E assessed the economic sustainability of early GALVmed Market Development projects. We collected data on the supply and demand of Newcastle Disease (ND) vaccines in three pilot project sites five years after these projects ended. Our initial expectation is that we would be carrying out a ‘post-mortem’ looking at learning what might have failed and why in order to incorporate these learnings in future market development work. Instead, we found a remarkable degree of sustainability.

In a similar vein, we have looked backwards at previous market development initiatives such as the Protecting Livestock, Saving Human Life programme (April 2012 – March 2018) to see how work has progressed since the close of the project. Sales data between 2018 and 2019 indicates that millions of doses of ND vaccine were sold to small-scale livestock producers without funds or intervention from GALVmed.

Currently the GALVmed M&E function, in collaboration with partners, are working to model the economic impact of these sales to estimate the ensuing net economic benefit to the communities.

Written by Katharine Tjasink and Stuart Stevenson

GALVmed’s Learning Journey

GALVmed is privileged to be working on a mission that has truly remarkable potential to improve the livelihoods of a vast number of people. Our ability to achieve exceptional results is down to the exceptional benefits afforded by livestock vaccines and other animal health products. These represent an investment to the small-scale livestock producer that can be matched by very few other agricultural inputs and, with over half the world’s poor being farmers in developing nations, this extraordinary potential can be readily appreciated.

However, despite this potential our mission remains a challenging one. We still have a great deal to learn in the small-scale livestock field and we can still anticipate failure in some of our projects and initiatives. The key to transforming our theoretical potential to tangible reality is learning.

In the GALVmed Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) function we are very much part of this GALVmed learning journey. We follow a developmental evaluation approach where pragmatic levels of information are sought to rapidly assess progress and, where necessary, course corrections can be proposed and discussed within GALVmed and with private sector partners. It is our responsibility to serve as the ‘honest broker’ in ensuring a transparent assessment of impact alongside the performance of our initiatives.

We have much to learn and will continue to evolve as iterate as new evidence comes to light, bringing with it new challenges, new lessons, new opportunities and greater understanding.

Written by Neil Gammon