The days of African small-stock farmers struggling with Peste des petits ruminants are numbered, after an international initiative to eradicate the disease was announced.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) announced the launch of a US$ 996,4 million plan for the first phase of a 15 year plan to eradicate PPR by 2030.
“Wiping out PPR will have a major positive impact on the lives of pastoralist communities in all developing countries and directly support efforts to end poverty and hunger by 2030,” said FAO’s director- general, José Graziano da Silva.
“When it comes to viral animal disease, much attention falls on the threats they pose to human health – but their affects on economic growth, human livelihoods, quality nutrition and food security can be equally devastating. That’s why the campaign needs wide suppor,” said da Silva.
According to FAO, the disease, also known as sheep and goat plague, is lethal to small ruminants, and kills up to 90% of infected animals.
However, PPR is entirely preventable with cheap vaccines.
How the campaign will work
In its first phase, the campaign would focus on countries where PPR exists, or where its status has not been assessed. The aim is to raise awareness among farmers and build capacity for prevention and containment of the disease. FAO and the OIE intend to focus on strengthening national veterinary services, health services and systems for the control of PPR and other diseases. Targeted vaccination campaigns will be implemented.
The agencies plan to improve animal husbandry and uplift rural communities while engaged in the campaign.