New veterinary diagnostic networks to aid poultry, livestock production in Sub-Sahara
With the help of a US$14.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over the next 3 years, Zoetis announced plans to develop veterinary and outreach services to aid the growth of poultry and livestock production in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda.
The animal health company said the grant would enable the development of veterinary laboratory networks, increase the availability of local veterinary medicines and services, implement sustainable diagnostics programs and strengthen local veterinary expertise.
“Access to medicines and technology will help farmers raise healthier animals and secure more sustainable revenue, which is critical to the economic development of the region and well-being of its population,” said Juan Ramón Alaix, chief executive officer for Zoetis.
As one of the most rapidly developing regions in the world, Sub-Saharan Africa is also home to some of the largest food-animal populations in the world – and the highest density of impoverished farmers.1
According to Zoetis, food animals are essential assets to rural communities and maintaining their health is critical to achieving food security in areas of exceptionally high animal and human disease incidence.
This program, funded by the foundation, will be called the African Livestock Productivity and Health Advancement (ALPHA) initiative.
Zoetis said it would collaborate with governmental authorities, local veterinary associations, national and international NGOs, farmer associations and the private sector to “maximize its ability to positively impact the region.”
Over the course of 3 years, the company said it would “use the progress made and key learnings to work toward a longer-term sustainable business model and animal health infrastructure” for food-animal production in the region.
1 ILRI, 2012. Mapping of poverty and likely zoonoses hotspots: https://www.ilri.org/node/1244