GALVmed’s Global Access Advisory Committee held its inaugural meeting in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia, just outside Addis Ababa, on 19 and 20 January 2011.
Last month GALVmed announced the members of the advisory committee . They are a group of independent advisors with expertise in pro-poor access issues pertaining to the sustainable delivery of livestock vaccines, diagnostics and drugs in the developing world. The advisors are drawn from 11 different countries and a range of disciplines. In total 22 people attended the meeting in Ethiopia, including GALVmed team members.
Dr Charlotte Nkuna, GALVmed’s assistant director global access, said: “The Global Access Advisory Committee is key to helping GALVmed think through the issues and bottlenecks which prevent vaccines, diagnostic tools and other animal health products getting into the hands of poor farmers. We have an exceptional group of advisors with diverse and complementary experience who will help us with the really tough issues that have to be addressed.
700 million people rely on livestock for their livelihoods – so there should be a ready market for a wide range of products which can reduce mortality and improve livestock productivity. GALVmed is seeking advice on how we can simultaneously stimulate supply and demand and address the commercial, cultural and practical issues which stop these livestock keepers accessing products which could transform their lives by improving the health of their animals.”
GALVmed has a sophisticated advisory structure with three main external committees: the Global Access Advisory Committee, the Expert Science Advisory Committee and the South Asia Regional Advisory Committee. These committees help the organisation to test the potential of areas of development.
“The Global Access Advisory Committee is very important to GALVmed, but we do not work with it in isolation. We have a South Asia Regional Advisory Committee and an Expert Science Advisory Committee so we need to square up the ideas coming out of these three groups and ensure they are consistent. We will peer-test recommendations from all these groups. The best ideas will inform the next GALVmed business plan, the draft of which will go to the Board in March 2011. There is a clear link from the business plan to the proposals which go to our funders and the way we communicate with our stakeholders and the wider animal health and livestock keeping community.”
At Debra Zeit the Global Access Advisory Committee started to think through the issues which are integral to a systems approach to creating demand for animal health products. These include:
Steve Sloan, Chief Executive of GALVmed, stated:
“It was a privilege to be at the Global Access Advisory Committee. They confirmed to us that a collegiate approach was right. It is no accident that we have the words ‘global alliance’ in our name, but the confirmation was great to hear.
The group reminded us that listening to the specific needs of farmers and entrepreneurs is crucial and the issues of risk and opportunity for both must be addressed. They emphasised the need for issues like regulation and enforcement to be addressed, which backs up our work with African and international institutions such as NEPADand OIE, on harmonisation of vaccine regulation regimes in Africa.
Finally, we spent a lot of time thinking about communication and advocacy and the key messages which are necessary for global access to appropriate and affordable animal health products. This includes work which emphasises the role of livestock as a viable part of economic development as well as a food security issue. We will have some exciting news about our approach to this challenge shortly.”