PREVENT: How hatchery vaccinations are boosting poultry production in Africa

Marie Ducrotoy, Senior Manager Development Projects and Partnerships, Ceva Santé Animale

Tom Osebe, Senior Manager, Commercial Development & Impact, Africa, GALVmed

Improvement in poultry production is one of the most promising options to provide affordable protein and other essential nutrients to Africa’s rapidly growing population, but poultry diseases pose a constant threat to productivity, and limit the industry’s potential. Even though vaccination is proven as an effective way of protecting poultry, high temperatures in Africa make distribution of vaccines (which mostly need to be kept cold) a challenging task in the continent. This hurdle, combined with a lack of information about circulating infectious diseases, exposes small-scale producers to the risk of losing their flocks and livelihoods overnight.

In 2021, Ceva Santé Animale in partnership with GALVmed, and with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), launched the PREVENT (PRomoting and Enabling Vaccination Efficiently, Now and Tomorrow) initiative to introduce hatchery vaccinations for day old chicks (DoC) in mid-size hatcheries in Africa. The overarching objective was to enable small-scale poultry producers in Africa to become more productive and efficient and to enhance their prospects for progression and advancement in the industry. And the targets were ambitious; over 50 million hatchery-vaccinated day-old chicks distributed annually through 36 medium-sized hatcheries spread across eight Africa countries. These were expected to benefit 150,000 poultry producers.  

Three years since inception and with over a year left on the project, PREVENT has performed remarkably and is on track to achieving, and in some instances exceeding, its targets. Already, 31 hatcheries in 11 countries have been equipped to provide vaccinations to DoCs benefitting over 100,000 poultry farmers.

More vaccines for improved immunity and reduced mortality

Because chickens are susceptible to a range of infectious diseases that can impact their health and growth, it is important they are vaccinated with several vaccines on the day of hatch. At an average of three doses per vaccinated day-old chick (vDoC), small-scale producers are benefitting from a much larger range of vaccination covering more disease than before, which in turn improve the quantity and quality of the birds. PREVENT has succeeded in vaccinating over 98 million DoCs, exceeding the 56 million originally targeted. This is attributed to the unexpected success of most hatcheries transitioning from zero to one hundred percent vaccination, in contrast to the staged gradual increase in vaccination which had been modelled. Overall, 91% of DoCs produced by the hatcheries are vaccinated.  

Additionally, twenty vaccines have been registered variably in the West African Economic and Monetary Union- UEMOA region (Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) as well as Nigeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda offering a diverse offering for use by hatcheries.

Technical support to farmers

Implementing vaccination measures alone is not enough, training on animal health practices, market development opportunities, and advice on biosecurity and good management practices is an important part of the solution for small-scale producers. PREVENT is working with over 200 Field Technicians who have been trained and who serve as the crucial link between the hatcheries and producers. They are providing advice and technical support to the poultry producers and helping to build the customer base of the hatcheries.

A boost for poultry disease data

The SAFER (Sub-Saharan Africa Field Epidemiological Research) portion of the PREVENT project was designed to assess the aetiology of disease outbreaks. Through existing network of field technicians, valuable data on circulation of specific poultry viruses has been collected. This data will be use Ceva and GALVmed to assess if the current vaccines and vaccination program are adequate to protect against  circulating viruses. The data will also be useful to policymakers, hatcheries and their customers for effective disease control. Activities in the SAFER project are providing a significant boost for available epidemiological data for Africa.

Understanding gender dynamics in poultry farming

In order to positively impact women chicken producers through the hatchery intervention, the initiative sought to bring a pragmatic level of understanding of gender dynamics within the poultry sector.  A gender landscaping analysis is helping to shed light on these dynamics which can guide how women can benefit from poultry interventions in the future.

PREVENT has brought about lasting transformational market change as more farmers embrace vaccinated DoCs due to the benefits they offer. Ceva is continually working to create awareness of the advantages of vaccinated DoCs through simplified communication to farmers focusing on better protection improved poultry health, less work for the farmer, and better performance and more money for producers.

A Rising Tide Doesn’t Lift All Boats: Why Africa’s Livestock Intensification Can’t Leave Women Behind

Written by Katharine Tjasink, Senior Manager, Impact, Evaluation & Learning (GALVmed); Lamyaa Al-Riyami, Senior Manager, Evaluation, Programme Planning, (GALVmed); and Zoë Campbell, Scientist, Gender, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

Originally published by Farming First

For many of Africa’s 240 million women livestock keepers, success in the industry is a double-edged sword that brings difficult questions of its own, mainly: what happens next?

On top of existing obstacles women face in Africa’s livestock sector – from a lack of access to land, finance, technology, and information about disease control – a successful livestock business can often lock horns with the prevailing gender and social norms across the continent.

For instance, research from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) shows that women face significant challenges when the fortunes of their business rise. These include difficulties balancing an increasing workload with other responsibilities and potentially losing control over their own resources and decision-making by attracting the attention and investment of their husbands or male family members.

As Africa endeavours to intensify its livestock production to meet food security goals, it is imperative to address these gender disparities to avoid unintended consequences and ensure equitable development. Acute care must be taken to avoid leaving women behind and jeopardising gender equality.

This is why the PREVENT project, a Ceva Santé Animale initiative in collaboration with GALVmed, is adopting a “gender lens” to intensify Africa’s livestock production. The Promoting and Enabling Vaccination Efficiently, Now and Tomorrow (PREVENT) project specifically focuses on providing vaccinations for day-old chicks at mid-size hatcheries across Africa.

This approach is crucial as mid-size hatcheries serve many women farmers. Poultry rearing and production, more generally, provides a valuable source of income to women farmers, while also making an important contribution to the reduction of food insecurity and rural poverty across the African continent.

Yet, across Africa, uptake of some veterinary vaccines, key tools to protect advances in productivity,  has been limited. Small-scale poultry production struggle with access to quality vaccines and veterinary services. As a result, rural producers can have their flocks, and the income and stability they represent, wiped out overnight due to otherwise preventable diseases.

By focusing on disease prevention through increasing the accessibility of vaccinated chicks, the PREVENT project is not only boosting productivity by reducing livestock losses but also catering to women farmers, many of whom lack access to critical disease prevention technologies.

Likewise, through the provision of technical training and information dissemination about chicken management, biosecurity, and vaccination, PREVENT is bridging the knowledge and technical divide that holds back Africa’s poultry farmers, including women.

With the support of field technicians, the PREVENT project is contributing to greater animal production and income growth through improved disease control. At the same time, the project is bolstering the knowledge and skills necessary for successful poultry management, benefitting a diverse range of poultry farmers, including those traditionally overlooked women farmers.

In order to benefit future interventions, the PREVENT project is also seeking to improve understanding of the existing social norms impacting women, and their success, in the African livestock sector.

To achieve this, a gender landscaping analysis conducted by the project helped to shed light on these norms by presenting mock case studies of women involved in successful livestock businesses to focus groups across Africa. By collating responses from these groups, the analysis provided insights into the complex social and cultural norms shaping women’s experiences in the industry.

The findings from the gender landscaping analysis are instrumental in informing future development interventions. Quantitative and qualitative impact assessments are also being carried out by the project to contribute to the understanding of gender perspectives in the sector. By understanding the expectations and challenges faced by women in the livestock sector, future projects can act more sensitively to ensure that women’s success does not come into conflict with prevailing social norms. This proactive approach is essential for creating an inclusive and equitable livestock sector in Africa.

Ultimately, intensification of animal production is crucial for providing nutritious food for Africa’s rapidly growing population. Yet, greater success for women livestock farmers can – counterintuitively – bring new challenges of its own.

Therefore, ensuring the overall success of Africa’s food system transformation means also addressing prevailing gender disparities in the livestock sector.

By responding to existing gender gaps in livestock health and improving understanding of complex gender dynamics affecting their livelihoods, the PREVENT project is playing a vital role in ensuring that Africa’s dynamic women farmers are not left behind.

Photo credit: Female poultry farmer, Iringa, Tanzania, 2021. @Colin Dames

Why combination vaccines are better for small-scale livestock producers

Written by Stephen Wilson, Director, Research & Development (VITAL projects) and Kellen Asena, Senior Marketing Manager, GALVmed. Originally published by Farming First.

Livestock is a crucial source of income for small-scale livestock producers. Globally, it is estimated that around 78 per cent of the world’s poorest communities rely on agricultural work to support their livelihoods and households. However, livestock diseases represent $358.4 billion in lost production per year.

Access to veterinary care is a critical piece of the puzzle, with higher vaccination rates associated with higher productivity. However, expensive vaccines often do not reach those who rely on healthy animals the most for their livelihoods, income and food security: small-scale livestock producers.

Small-scale livestock producers often live in remote areas and face many constraints around access to veterinary care, including the lack of financial means to pay for the necessary medicines, and sometimes even lack of knowledge on some of the diseases that their livestock may suffer from. Often, suitable vaccines are distributed in disproportionate pack sizes or are simply unavailable. However, combination vaccines, also known as multi-valent vaccines can address these access challenges and more, offering the best value for resource-poor livestock keepers.

Alternatives for smallholder farmers

The prevalence of diseases such as Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) and Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) in livestock is rife across the African continent, causing significant economic losses for farmers and harm to animal health and welfare. Yet, major gaps exist in the portfolio of products required by small-scale producers to effectively control pressing livestock diseases. Combination and concurrent vaccines, meaning those which target more than one disease in a single dose or administration, offer effective and affordable value to small-scale producers with an outstanding return on investment and a multitude of benefits.

For instance, combination vaccines are more cost-effective than single-use vaccinations, which tend to be more expensive. The Sheep Goat Pox/PPR combination vaccine, for example, is 40 per cent cheaper than the cost of the two vaccines delivered separately. 

Multi-valent vaccines also provide maximum coverage against multiple diseases, rather than simply one livestock disease. They require just a single dose to be administered and therefore are less burdensome on the farmer, the animal, and the veterinarians. There have also been improvements around pack sizes, with 10, 50 and 100 doses available.

Developing multi-valent vaccines

Together with partners, GALVmed is funding the development of several multi-valent vaccines against livestock diseases that are most endemic across Africa and South Asia and currently have the most negative impacts on food security for smallholder farmers. Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP), for example, can result in economic losses of over $507 million per year in endemic areas, while PPR is highly contagious and affects almost 70 countries across the African continent. SGP affects goats and sheep and can lead to economic losses amounting to $48 million per year across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Other diseases that combination vaccines are targeting include Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP), Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), Newcastle Disease (ND), and Infectious Bursal Disease (Gumboro) (IBD).

For example, the CCPP/PPR/SGP combination vaccine for small ruminant diseases in affected regions ensures maximum disease coverage using a single vaccine and through distribution networks operating effective cold chains. This combination vaccine is significantly cheaper than monovalent vaccines. The addition of the RVF dosage to the CBPP+LSD/Rift Valley Fever vaccine – known as a concurrent vaccine – is of particular importance to smallholder farmers as it offers enhanced protection against RVF outbreaks when administered at the same time.

Other combination vaccines include the bi-valent PPR/SGP vaccine – of which GALVmed, together with a commercial partner, has sold over 27 million doses to date – as well as multi-valent vaccines against ND and Infectious bronchitis.

Looking ahead

Encouraging governments across the Global South to open up the market for private sector development could ensure small-scale farmers are able to purchase vaccines more easily and efficiently, which is particularly important in the case of a disease outbreak when a rapid response time could make or break disease control efforts.

It is estimated that 800 million people in Africa rely on healthy livestock for their livelihoods. One of the fastest-growing agricultural subsectors in developing countries, livestock accounts for around 30 per cent of agricultural GDP. However, smallholder farmers in low-income, rural areas often lack access to vaccinations and veterinary care resulting from logistical and supply chain difficulties and costs. Combination vaccines could be the answer, offering a viable and cost-effective alternative for small-scale livestock farmers all around the world.

Evaluating the effects of Newcastle Disease vaccination on poultry production and livelihoods

Backyard chickens are a significant source of income and nourishment in developing countries, but outbreaks of poultry diseases like Newcastle Disease (ND) severely affect productivity, flock mortality, and consequently, farmer livelihoods.

GALVmed has made important progress in combating ND with the successful development of two thermotolerant vaccines suitable for the rural environment. Vaccination is a cost-effective means to controlling ND. However, to fully grasp the benefits of vaccination interventions and establish evidence-based approaches for developing future programmes and planning, we need to measure vaccination impacts comprehensively. In order to understand and quantify the causal effects of ND vaccination on poultry production and livelihoods, since 2020, GALVmed has been working with Tufts University and Oxford Policy Management (OPM) to design and implement a Newcastle Disease Vaccine (NDV) intervention paired with a rigorous evaluation in rural areas of Tanzania.

The study encompasses two main activities. Firstly, a Newcastle Disease vaccination intervention in selected small-scale farming areas of Tanzania, specifically in the districts of Chemba and Mbozi. To execute this intervention plan, Community Vaccinators are tasked to visit each registered small-scale producer (SSP) household at their doorstep to:

  1. Vaccinate chickens with the I-2 Newcastle Disease vaccine, which is administered by the eye-drop method.
  2. Deliver specific training and knowledge content on the disease, vaccination, and improved poultry-rearing practices.

The second activity involves an experimental study to quantify the causal effects of the Newcastle Disease vaccination intervention. To assess these effects, the impact study was structured as a randomised controlled trial (RCT) where the study sample of intervention villages was randomly divided into two groups for comparison: a treatment group that received the ND vaccination intervention package (vaccination and training), and a control group that did not. The control group will receive one round of the intervention after the study’s endline survey.

Both the vaccination intervention and the impact study are currently underway.  OPM has completed all 6 vaccination rounds in the study’s treatment villages with one pending vaccination round to control villages. The households that were selected for the impact study have been interviewed at the project’s outset, followed by a midline assessment, and will again be interviewed at the end of the intervention. The midline survey revealed preliminary positive outcomes with reduced ND outbreaks and chicken mortality due to NDV delivery.

Underlying this intervention is a key assumption that offering NDV at an affordable price to poultry-keeping households in treatment villages, together with the promotion of improved poultry-rearing practices, will yield noteworthy benefits with respect to poultry productivity, income from poultry, household welfare, food consumption, and possibly decisions on income-generating activities.

The findings derived from this study will allow us to make informed decisions regarding ND vaccination and further enhance the effectiveness of our efforts in protecting poultry health and livelihoods.

Further details and final findings will be made available at the end of the intervention in 2024.

Vaccine Equality is as Vital for Livestock as for People

Written by Enrique Hernández Pando, GALVmed’s Executive Director, Commercial Development & Impact.

For 33-year-old mother-of-seven and poultry farmer Helena Kindole in Chanya village in Tanzania, one of the main barriers to growing her chicken business is a lack of access to health services. But not for herself or her family – for her animals.

With smallholder poultry farming often a lifeline for millions of low-income and rural families – accounting for 80% of poultry production in the region – access to medicines and vaccines is just as important for livestock as it is for people. And yet, logistical, infrastructural, and supply challenges are hindering access to veterinary services across the African continent and therefore, holding back smallholder productivity.

At the same time, a rapidly industrialising poultry sector in many developed countries, and an increase in grain prices globally, coupled with cheap imports from more developed markets and low access to animal health care is driving inequality between small- and large-scale producers, threatening to squeeze out smallholder poultry farmers.

Thankfully, this is starting to change. Animal health initiatives are helping local hatcheries to vaccinate chicks against common and damaging diseases before selling them to small-scale farmers, who rear the chicks until they are six months old, eventually selling them to neighbours, restaurants, and other businesses nearby.

For women like Helena, who make up nearly half of the global agricultural workforce in developing countries and in sub-Saharan Africa, the poultry sector offers a crucial source of income and healthy animals are essential for decent livelihoods.

Equipping farmers with the right tools can help to set them up for success to compete alongside more industrialised production systems.

Introducing vaccinations at local hatcheries can strengthen small-scale producers’ sustainability and commercial clout. Supporting these hatcheries with the necessary vaccination equipment and expertise means they can provide customers with large numbers of chicks that are vaccinated against common poultry diseases, such as Newcastle disease and Infectious bronchitis, the former of which contributes to 60% of poultry mortalities in many African countries. This reduces the risk of bird loss, contributing to improved income and more successful businesses overall.

PREVENT project in Tanzania/Iringa, 2021, Helena Kindole. Credit: Colin Dames/CEVA

But implementing vaccination measures alone is not enough, as a lack of technical support and knowledge on zoonoses and other infectious diseases that affect poultry can also hinder productivity. Training on animal health practices, market development opportunities, and advice on biosecurity, good management practices, and more are also crucial pieces of the puzzle. Providing this can help to level the playing field between large scale, industrial hatcheries and small-scale producers.

The PREVENT project (Promoting and Enabling Vaccination Efficiently, Now and Tomorrow) is one example of an initiative working to improve poultry production for Africa’s rapidly growing population. In just two years, this four-year initiative has administered 159 million vaccine doses and vaccinated 49 million hatchery chicks. It has also trained 100 field technicians who have conducted 2,600 farm visits and held over 1,400 farmer meetings across four countries in sub-Saharan Africa, to date.

A low-input but high-producing sector, raising chickens offers a reliable pathway out of poverty for many rural households. A small-scale producer can easily sell their chicks or chickens at the market as they are more affordable for the consumer than beef, for example, but also bring a myriad of other benefits. They add value to social structures, are high in protein, and, on top of this, can directly benefit women who in fact make up the majority of smallholder poultry farmers in the developing world.

Small-scale chicken farmer in Tanzania/Arusha, 2015. Credit: Karel Prinsloo/GALVmed

Against the backdrop of a global cost of living crisis, record-breaking temperatures, and ongoing conflicts, closing the inequality gap for smallholder farmers is critical to build a sustainable future for all. Supporting small-scale producers with training, animal health measures, and much more can help to level the playing field, one small-scale producer at a time, just like Helena.

Celebrating 2 years of achievements with PREVENT

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”

GALVmed provides updates on small ruminants’ vaccine development

Livestock, including small ruminants, are an important asset for millions of people in low and middle-income countries and are a source of protein, income and wealth. However, animal diseases account for great losses in the livestock sector and seriously hamper animal production and small-scale producers’ livelihoods.

Numerous limitations hinder small ruminant production in the Global South. According to a deep-dive exercise conducted by GALVmed in 2019, feed scarcity and infectious animal diseases are major constraints to livestock production. Additionally, the availability of vaccines for small ruminants is very limited in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

In a Stakeholder Seminar series led by FAO, held in January, GALVmed presented its work on small ruminant vaccines with a focus on Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR). GALVmed has considerable history working in the field of PPR and is currently working with commercial partners on different projects to develop and commercialise new mono and multivalent vaccines against different small ruminant diseases such as PPR, SGP, Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia (CCPP) and Brucellosis.

The presentation however noted that these products and solutions can only be sustainably provided and reach full potential if focus shifts from emergency interventions to comprehensive small ruminant health and productivity management. Stakeholders need to come together to develop 1) regional programs that foster small ruminants’ health, productivity and trade; 2) multidisciplinary public & private partnerships with shared mandate and accountability; and 3) a common strategy addressing animal health issues, resource and veterinary service limitations, infrastructure reliability, and other systemic weaknesses.

The full recording of this webinar on new vaccine & market development for small ruminants is available below:

GALVmed presenters:

East African Community Mutual Recognition Procedure: What is it and why is it important?

Obtaining approval to sell veterinary medicines in the market requires a marketing authorisation (licence) from the National Regulatory Authority in each country where the product is to be sold. In East Africa, this involves applying for a marketing authorisation separately in each country. This is often lengthy, resource-intensive, and unpredictable.

Since 2011, the East African Community (EAC) with support from GALVmed, AU-PANVAC (Pan African Veterinary Vaccine Centre of African Union) and HealthforAnimals (the global animal health industry association) has been implementing the EAC’s Mutual Recognition Procedure (MRP) system which allows applicants to apply simultaneously for licences in multiple countries. This saves time and allows countries and applicants to use their resources more efficiently. MRP increases the likelihood for the sustainable supply of quality registered veterinary medicines in the region.

The first licence under MRP was issued for a veterinary vaccine in October 2018. Since then, several applications, immunological and pharmaceutical, have been processed and are now authorised in multiple countries in the EAC. This has contributed to increased access to quality safe, efficacious veterinary medicines.

Numerous benefits

Apart from saving time and resources in the submission process, MRP has other benefits. For the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs), some of the benefits include:

  • Increased efficiencies by avoiding duplication of effort
  • Increased likelihood of improved quality of dossier submitted
  • The approach builds trust between assessors and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) inspectors
  • Identical dossier is submitted to all   participating NRAs
  • Approved veterinary medicines have the same finished product specification and SPC across the region
  • For inexperienced and less resourced NRAs, have an opportunity to learn and benefit from the more experienced and resourced NRAs 

And benefits to the industry include:

  • One dossier format to all NRAs
  • One procedure with one set of questions agreed on by the Reference Country ant the Concerned Country/Countries and based on a specific time-line – a predictable process that enhances planning 
  • Harmonised release criteria
  • Harmonised label claims
  • Possibility of fewer field trials
  • Harmonised post marketing activities – variations and renewal times harmonised and granted/approved at the same time and hence rapid introduction of new veterinary medicines in the market

All these benefits translate to increased likelihood of sustainable supply of quality registered veterinary medicines to livestock producers in the region.

Current progress

Since being introduced, the MRP process has received submissions from seven (7) global and African companies. Several applications for immunological and pharmaceutical products have been processed and authorised in multiple countries in the EAC, and approval time has been reduced significantly to about 12 months.

The MRP initiative is set to expand to include veterinary pesticides and subsequently, veterinary medical devices. The goal of improving access to quality veterinary medicines in EAC region with limited regulatory capacity could be addressed through regulatory reliance.

Blog written by Adelaide Ayoyi

Using a Randomised Control Trial to study the impact of Newcastle Disease vaccine on poultry farmer welfare and livelihoods

In 2020, Oxford Policy Management (OPM) was contracted by GALVmed to implement an intervention and conduct an associated impact study on the adoption of a Newcastle Disease Vaccine (NDV) by small-scale poultry farmers in rural Tanzania in the districts of Chemba and Mbozi. The objective of the study is to quantify the causal effects that the delivery of NDV has on the “production, productivity, and livelihoods of small-scale producers (SSPs)”. The study involves two main activities:

  1. The design and implementation of an NDV intervention in selected SSP farming areas of Tanzania.
  2. The design and implementation of an experimental study to quantify the causal effects of the NDV intervention.

The impact study was designed as a randomised controlled trial (RCT) where the study sample was randomly split into one treatment group and one control group. The treatment group was offered and will continue to be offered the NDV intervention package. This group will be compared with a control group, who did not and will not receive the intervention package during the study. The control group will receive one round of the intervention after the study’s endline survey.

A baseline study was conducted between September and November 2021 and the endline survey is scheduled for September to November 2023. Further details on the RCT and its findings will be made available upon publication of the results.

Blog written by Lamyaa Al-Riyami

Developing a Public Private Partnership Framework for FMD in Eastern Africa

Although Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) have been implemented in Eastern Africa, they have largely been for infrastructural development in the road, water, and energy sectors. Applying PPP approaches in the veterinary sector is still an emerging concept. But now, thanks to the AgResults Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Vaccine Challenge Project, there is a new standardised PPP Framework that highlights the landscape, challenges, and opportunities of PPPs in the FMD vaccine value chain.

The FMD Vaccine Challenge Project is an eight-year, US$17.68 million Pay-for-Results prize competition that encourages the development and uptake of high-quality FMD vaccines tailored to meet the needs of Eastern Africa in six target countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. One of the project’s goals is to develop a private sector model for buying and distributing FMD vaccines to complement public sector efforts in the region. PPP Frameworks can be crucial tools for communicating and raising awareness among key stakeholders. The team knew that creating such a framework for the FMD vaccine value chain could attract private sector investments into the veterinary domain to effectively and efficiently control FMD in the region.

To develop the PPP Framework, the FMD Vaccine Challenge Project team customized aspects of the OIE PPP Handbook into a practical framework, aimed at sparking commitments between partners to strengthen the FMD vaccine value chain in Eastern Africa. Although the OIE PPP Handbook is the single most comprehensive resource on PPP development in the veterinary sector, it only offers general guidelines.

The development process involved seeking views and inputs from the groups in Eastern Africa that would use the tool: veterinarians, para-veterinarians, and representatives from vaccine manufacturers, importers, distributors, livestock enterprises, and farmer organizations. From October 2020 to August 2021, the team engaged these key public and private sector stakeholders to collate feedback on their perspectives and interests in PPPs.  

Although COVID-19 restrictions forced these meetings to be virtual, the discussions were dynamic, and participants provided enthusiastic comments that are summarized and validated in the PPP Framework. To create a stronger enabling environment, participants overwhelmingly identified the need to establish PPPs as well as link existing PPP units with their respective Departments of Veterinary Services. Responding to this feedback, the framework points out key challenges to the establishment of PPPs: lack of awareness of their benefits, trust issues between the public and private sector, and lack of financing. In addition, it identifies and prioritises opportunities for PPPs in vaccine production, purchasing, distribution, delivery, vaccinations, and post-vaccination monitoring for each of the six target countries.

Now that the PPP Framework is finalized, the FMD Vaccine Challenge Project team is focused on promoting its use in manufacturing, purchasing, distribution, and vaccination campaigns. This involves (1) identifying partnerships to promote the PPP Framework in target countries and (2) facilitating PPP MOUs, contracts, and/or informal partnership agreements in those countries.

Making the framework relevant and accessible will hopefully catalyze future PPP arrangements in the FMD vaccine value chain and trigger PPPs in the general veterinary domain.

The full PPP framework is available here. For more information on the AgResults FMD Vaccine Challenge Project, visit the GALVmed and AgResults websites.

Written by Badi Maulidi