Original Research

Currently important animal disease management issues in sub-Saharan Africa : policy and trade issues

G.R. Thomson
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 76, No 1 | a76 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v76i1.76 | © 2009 G.R. Thomson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 September 2009 | Published: 10 September 2009

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Abstract

The present international approach to management of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) is based on the assumption that most can be eradicated ; consequently, that is the usual objective adopted by international organizations concerned with animal health. However, for sub-Saharan Africa and southern Africa more particularly, eradication of most TADs is impossible for the foreseeable future for a variety of technical, financial and logistical reasons. Compounding this, the present basis for access to international markets for products derived from animals requires that the area of origin (country or zone) is free from trade-influencing TADs. The ongoing development of transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs), extending across huge areas of southern Africa, therefore presents a development conundrum because it makes creation of geographic areas free from TADs more difficult and brings development based on wildlife conservation on the one hand and that based on livestock production on the other into sharp conflict. Sub-Saharan Africa is consequently confronted by a complex problem that contributes significantly to retarded rural development which, in turn, impedes poverty alleviation. In southern Africa specifically, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) presents the greatest problem in relation to access to international markets for animal products. However, it is argued that this problem could be overcome by a combination between (1) implementation of a commodity-based approach to trade in products derived from animals and (2) amendment of the international standards for FMD specifically (i.e. the FMD chapter in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the World Organisation for Animal Health [OIE]) so that occurrence of SAT serotype viruses in free-living African buffalo need not necessarily mean exclusion of areas where buffalo occur from international markets for animal products. This would overcome a presently intractable constraint to market access for southern African countries and enable conservation and livestock production to be more effectively integrated, to the benefit of both.

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