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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