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Livestock Disease Surveillance and Control in Nigeria

IKORE, together with a consortium of 4 other international and governmental organizations - CIRAD, IZSVE and NVRI, are working to improve the capacities (human and material) of Nigerian animal health actors (Federal government, NVRI, veterinary services, field veterinarians, Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs), herders, poultry owners) in PPR and NDV surveillance and control.

The purpose of the EU-funded Livestock Disease Surveillance Knowledge Integration (LIDISKI) project is to Integrate Knowledge collected from actors in the animal health sector to provide tools and know-how to implement sustainable surveillance and control strategies against Livestock Diseases especially Newcastle disease (ND) in poultry and Peste des petits Ruminants (PPR) in small ruminants. The project was launched on 4th of March, 2020 to set the ball of activities fully rolling. The news of the launch event was disseminated through the LIDISKI website, a Press Release published in the PUNCH newspaper, and a reportage across several online platforms.

IKORE used various participatory approaches (Focus group discussions, transect walk and journey mapping) to establish the knowledge and skills level of the CAHWs, along with socioeconomics of animal diseases at the farmer level at baseline, and developed a monitoring and evaluation framework which reflects a combination of observations and reported data for tracking the behavior change amongst CAHWs (skills, use of skills to engage farmers and business management practices, including revenue/profit management) and farmers (adoption of animal health services and disease reporting. In the LIDISKI consortium, Ikore is deploying a variety of techniques and tools to establish and improve the skills of the commercially driven community animal health workers and other actors within the value chain.

LIDISKI Assesses Animal Health Service providers in 10 states

The LIDISKI project team conducted rapid assessments of the current status of Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs), para-veterinarians, and veterinarians in 10 selected states. Designated members of the project team conducted baseline assessments on the presence of CAHWs in these states, their level of activity, training, and job competence. The assessment was carried out in the first quarter of 2020 in Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano, Plateau, Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, and Nassarawa states. The team also established the states’ interest in collaborating with LIDISKI if selected, all 10 states visited indicated interest to do so.

The result of the baseline assessment helped generate accurate information on the existing number of CAHWs, Para-veterinarians, and Veterinarians in active practice across the states as well as knowledge about the states that have provided training to their CAHWs and those states that have not. A cumulative of 216 CAHWs, 814 Para-veterinarians, and 825 Veterinarians were recorded to be in active practice across the states. Of the 10 states, 8 have provided some form of training to their CAHWs network, facilitated by the Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) in collaboration with Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and State Department of Veterinary Services (DVS).

Information-Education-Communication (IEC) Materials

For the purpose of awareness for farmers, the LIDISKI team has developed information-education-communication (IEC) materials on recognizing the signs of PPR and ND, vaccination, and the availability/sources of vaccines in respective communities. The farmers will be better informed through these IECs on the two diseases, and know what to do and who to call when their animals are sick or there is an outbreak in their community.

LIDISKI Develops ODK Tools

Given that LIDISKI seeks to build a sustainable surveillance and control strategy; LIDISKI’s technical team is integrating already built simple and easy-to-use data collection tool that will be used by CAHWs for gathering regular information from farmers on various livestock diseases. Data generated by CAHWs will enable state and national governments to make informed decisions and trigger prompt interventions in cases of outbreaks. The tool is being adapted by LIDISKI to enable seamless and real-time disease reporting and improve the country’s response to outbreak of livestock diseases. CAHWs will be equipped and trained on how to use this tool in the coming months.

Peste Des Petits Ruminants (PPR) and Newcastle Disease (ND) Sampling

LIDISKI commenced PPR sampling (collection of tissue samples from suspected PPR cases) in sheep and goats in the pilot states of Plateau and Bauchi and has completed some phases of this process. Collection and serotyping new samples for PPR is also ongoing to identify novel strains of PPR virus circulating in the region. Samples collection is ongoing for ND in chickens via passive surveillance, but active surveillance is postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the pandemic has slowed down field activities, the project is adapting its delivery approach and leveraging technology to carry on with delivering the project’s mandate.

Among other activities scheduled for the year 2020 are the testing of temperature recorders (N=4) to confirm that equipment is adequate, this has been done within NVRI facilities and they worked as expected. Training in statistics, sampling design, risk mapping, participatory methods, and socio-economics are also scheduled for this year but had to be rescheduled due to the travel restrictions accompanying the Covid-19 crisis.

The LIDISKI project team is doing its very best to ensure a seamless flow of activities within the limits of intercountry and interstate travel restrictions while also adhering strictly to the protocols of social distancing, wearing a nose mask, and washing of hands. The project team is certain of successful delivery of activities scheduled for the year and is also optimistic that the pandemic will eventually ease off.