Home News General Report makes vaccines a priority

Experts have called for more to be done to help African smallholders access essential vaccines for their poultry. Their concerns are detailed in a new report from the Regional Expert Consultation (Africa) on Viral Diseases of Backyard Poultry, held in Nairobi, Kenya in March 2007. The two-day meeting brought together scientists, veterinarians and policymakers from 14 countries, mostly from Africa. They discussed their concerns regarding disease prevention strategies, vaccine development and improved policies for sustainable delivery services to farmers.

Vaccines exist for many poultry diseases, but are out of reach of many farmers, especially in rural areas. The report highlights Newcastle Disease as one major poultry disease in Africa, killing up to 60 per cent of affected flocks. Although vaccines are available, it is the poorest communities – those most at risk from the affects of the disease in their flocks – who have the most difficulty accessing preventative treatment.

The report outlines several key requirements for successfully controlling disease by vaccination: availability of appropriate vaccines, relevant training methods and materials, and timely monitoring and evaluation. Private veterinary networks with village-based vaccinators are identified as suitable models for the sustainable delivery of vaccines. Recommendations for policies that support the sustainable delivery of vaccines and provide pathways out of poverty are also provided.

The meeting was organised and funded by GALVmed in collaboration with the Network for Smallholder Poultry Development and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).