EAC to restrict cross border spread of livestock diseases

Written By: Brian Itava
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Some 11,300 people died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016.
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The East African Community is targeting to restrict cross border spread of diseases that have affected livestock trade in the region.

Kenya and Tanzania have secured 100 million shillings from the World Health Organization and the German Cooperation, GIZ to support long term contingent strategy for disease outbreaks which Senior Livestock Officer, EAC, Dr. David Balikowa says will help determine the two countries’ disease preparedness capacity, challenges and how to address them.

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Early last year, Tanzania incinerated at least 5000 chicks it said was imported illegally and carried the risk of spreading bird flu.

The move resulted in a diplomatic row between the two largest economies in the region.

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East Africa Community and other international stakeholders have identified cross border disease outbreaks such as Ebola, Rift Valley Fever and foot mouth as potential obstacle for intra-trade in the bloc.

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The Kshs 100 million from the World Health Organization and the German Cooperation GIZ will support frequent simulation exercise in which the experts will be carrying out fictitious disease outbreak management exercise across the region.

EAC Senior Livestock Officer Dr. David Balikowa says Kenya and Tanzania still lack sufficient preparedness capacity when disease outbreaks strike and thus need to enhance capacity to boost the level of preparedness.

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In the cross border simulation exercise, pandemic disease experts say it is important to use a multi-sectoral approach as the inter-border diseases have a significant impact on tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.

Stakeholders believe that Cross Border Simulation Exercise on disease outbreaks could not have come at a better time considering that the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo is in the equation with the country struggling to contain the Ebola peril.

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