After three years of co-funding with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, nearly 400,000 farmers trained in animal care, more than 60 animal medicines approved for use and new diagnostic and vaccine care initiatives in place.
In its third year, Zoetis’ African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement (A.L.P.H.A.) initiative, co-funded with a $14 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, continues to improve livestock health and positively impact farmers’ livelihoods by increasing access to quality veterinary medicines and services, diagnostic laboratory networks, and animal health training in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Animal health is extremely important in contributing to sustainable development goals and economic opportunities in Africa,” said Rob Kelly, President International Operations at Zoetis. “Access to medicines and technology will help farmers raise healthier animals and secure a more productive and sustainable food supply and income, which is critical to the economic development of the region and well-being of its people.”
As one of the most rapidly developing regions in the world, sub-Saharan Africa is also home to some of the largest livestock populations in the world – and the highest density of livestock keepers with the lowest productivity per animal. With the COVID-19 pandemic, healthy livestock are more essential than ever to rural smallholder communities because of the role they play in achieving food security. This is especially true in areas of high animal and human disease incidence.
Hundreds of millions of doses of animal health products distributed and diagnostic services more widely available to farmers
One of the initiative’s focal areas is to increase access to an expanded range of high-quality livestock medicines and disease solutions. Through dedicated regulatory activities, there are now 65 new veterinary products commercially available in addition to the Zoetis diagnostics portfolio in A.L.P.H.A. countries, which is a crucial component of sustainable development in the animal health sector. Hundreds of millions of doses of animal health products have been distributed in A.L.P.H.A. countries since the start of the initiative allowing access to quality medicines and increased productivity of smallholder farms.
Presently, the A.L.P.H.A. initiative has developed and upgraded facilities of nine diagnostic laboratories across Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania in collaboration with strategic private and public partners. These labs are fully operational and are serving local farming communities to diagnose the most common diseases of poultry and cattle; ensuring correct and responsible use of veterinary products (which helps to reduce drug resistance); mitigating losses from incorrect disease treatment, and ultimately safeguarding effective outcomes for farmers and their livestock. When selecting local partners, one criterion is their ability to offer diagnostic services in a sustainable manner, without future dependency on grant funding. A further six laboratories are undergoing set-up to commence diagnostic service provision in 2020.
Continuing training through virtual channels and ensuring inclusion of women
In collaboration with the University of Surrey (UK), the initiative conducted studies to identify training needs of veterinary professionals in Ethiopia and Uganda to address training gaps through customized solutions. By providing training on animal nutrition, disease detection and other animal health issues, the A.L.P.H.A. initiative continued to support training of local stakeholders through a Train-the-Trainer approach, which resulted in estimated reach of almost 400,000 people trained to date. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, A.L.P.H.A. trainers adapted traditional training to online versions and webinars. “Online training in sub-Saharan Africa are very successful. Our customers generally have smartphones with access to digital platforms, which allows them to maintain learning continuity. We recently participated in an Instagram live broadcast on the responsible use of antibiotics, an initiative very welcomed by our network, including young professionals,” said Dr. Adah Ogwuche, Field Veterinarian (A.L.P.H.A. Nigeria).
The A.L.P.H.A. initiative, co-funded with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2017 was first launched in Uganda and Nigeria, followed by Ethiopia in 2018 and Tanzania in 2019. This initiative is aiming at advancing livestock health and productivity in sub-Saharan Africa through increased availability of veterinary medicines and services, and the implementation of disease diagnostics infrastructure. To ensure long term sustainability of this initiative, Zoetis is developing veterinary laboratory networks and outreach services into local economic hubs in partnership with Veterinary associations, local food chain players and governmental institutions.
Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products, which are complemented by biodevices, genetic tests and precision livestock farming. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2019, the company generated annual revenue of $6.3 billion with approximately 10,600 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.