Considering the expansion of the pig sector in eastern Africa, the increasing trend in African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks in the sub-region and its transboundary nature, the disease has been identified as a high priority for the region. Because of its increasing importance, participating countries at the joint eastern Africa epidemiology and laboratory annual coordination meeting organized by FAO in Mombasa, Kenya on 24-27 July 2012, decided to set up a working group for eastern Africa to address this often neglected disease: the Eastern Africa African swine fever Working Group (EA-ASF-WG).
The first meeting of the EA-ASF-WG, took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 21-22 January 2015.
Following fruitful deliberations, the meeting agreed on the following:
- Development of Regional ASF control Strategy for Eastern Africa taking into consideration the continental ASF Control Strategy developed by AU-IBAR, FAO and ILRI;
- Information sharing. There is a need to establish a mechanism for real time information and knowledge sharing that could be stored in/managed through a centralised database with the support of FAO. To further support the information sharing, it was agreed to formalize the network of ASF country focal points, to act as first port of call in case of ASF outbreaks/events and for routine data/knowledge sharing, in support of the above database;
- Pig value chain. Considering the inadequate knowledge, motivation and awareness among actors of pig value chain on how their actions contribute to the spread of the disease, and taking into consideration the ongoing work by ILRI in Uganda, it was recommended to conduct additional value chains studies in the region;
- Strengthening ASF diagnostics. Despite various trainings in ASF diagnosis that have been conducted in the region, country presentations showed persistent gaps in countries’ capabilities to safely and accurately diagnose the disease. It was, therefore, recommended to conduct/update a need assessment and to develop a comprehensive regional training programme in diagnostics;
- Capacity building. Considering the lack of specific ASF training material and the continuous need of capacity building and awareness raising at all levels and all stakeholders in the region, it was recommended that FAO, in collaboration with leading Universities and research institutions, explore the feasibility of developing a region-tailored ASF training (including online modules);
- Regional ASF support laboratory. Considering the need for direct support to the national laboratories in ASF diagnosis, the possibility to select an ASF regional support laboratory within the region should be explored.
It was discussed and agreed that project proposals to address those aspects should be developed and submitted for funding.
Monday February 2, 2015/ FAO.