Poultry is an affordable and accessible asset for small-scale producers in Africa, but the effectiveness of vaccination has been limited and rural producers can have their flocks wiped out overnight due to preventable diseases.
PREVENT was launched in April 2021 as an initiative to establish an innovative and pragmatic veterinary health approach in Africa through medium-size hatchery vaccination. PREVENT comprises various workstreams and operations that are connecting the key pieces to achieve this endgame, and in this blog, we explore some of our achievements so far.
- Hatchery vaccination: The initiative aims to equip 36 mid-size African hatcheries with the necessary equipment and expertise (vaccination techniques, maintenance, hatchery biosecurity practice, quality assurance, and vaccination monitoring) so that the hatcheries will be able to provide customers with large numbers of chicks vaccinated against the major infectious poultry diseases. Farmers and poultry producers buying these vaccinated chicks will have better chances at ensuring flock health, reducing risk of bird losses, securing income, and overall, running more successful businesses. PREVENT has launched activities in 8 countries (Tanzania, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Rwanda, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe) and onboarded 24 hatcheries so far. This has allowed the initiative to administer 109 million doses of vaccines to 37 million day-old chicks (an average of 3 vaccine doses per chick). Diseases against which the chicks are vaccinated include Infectious bursal disease, Newcastle disease, Infectious bronchitis, and Marek’s disease.
- Training and market development: Vaccination alone is not enough, and the lack of technical support and information about circulating infectious diseases is also a major constraint. To date, PREVENT has trained 100 Field Technicians in Tanzania, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Ethiopia to provide advice and technical support to small-scale poultry keepers. In serving as the link between the hatcheries and the poultry farmers, the field technicians will also foster demand for, and create markets for vaccinated day-old chicks. Since activities started in September 2022, these field technicians have visited 1,800 farms and held over 100 meetings with farmers.
- Gender inclusion: The PREVENT initiative seeks to bring a pragmatic level of understanding of gender dynamics within the poultry sector with the goal of positively impacting women chicken producers through the hatchery intervention. To serve this purpose, a rapid gender landscaping analysis was conducted in 3 countries representing East, West, and Southern Africa (Tanzania, Nigeria and Zimbabwe).
- Epidemiological studies: This is an integrated component of the initiative that aims to explore and describe the epidemiology of poultry diseases at the level of small-scale poultry producers. To date, activity has started in Tanzania, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire where 52 samples have been collected.
Introducing changes upstream, at the hatchery level, echoes the positive impact all the way down to the farmer level, and contributes to creating a sound and sustainable system that will lead to an improvement in poultry productivity and efficiency in the targeted African countries.
April 2023 marks the second anniversary of this 4-year initiative. Much has been achieved so far, and much is yet to come.
The PREVENT initiative (PRomoting and Enabling Vaccination Efficiently, Now and Tomorrow) is a partnership between Ceva Santé Animale (a global veterinary health company) and GALVmed, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This blog was written by Patricia Valdeón Noya as part of the campaign “Celebrating 2 years of PREVENT”