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Implement ECOWAS vet protocol in livestock — Group

By: Graphic Business
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Mrs Victoria Norgbey
Mrs Victoria Norgbey

The Women in Poultry Value Chain (WIPVaC) has called for the speedy implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Veterinary Pharmacy Protocol in the country.

The group, which is an umbrella organisation of women poultry value chain actors, believes that supporting the implementation of the ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmaceutical Protocol will allow Ghana’s livestock sector actors to prioritise action that safeguards the development of the livestock value chain.

The National President of the apex body of Women in Poultry Value Chain (WIPVAC-Apex), Mrs Victoria Norgbey, said the government’s agricultural productivity programmes such as the Rearing for Food and Jobs stood to increase their impact if the protocol was implemented.

“Animal health is human health; hence the speedy implementation of the protocol is paramount to the health of consumers and the time is now,” she said.

She explained that as the world was increasingly inter-connected, emerging and re-emerging animal diseases in one country could potentially constitute a threat to global health security and, therefore, the lack of appropriate policy response mechanisms made the sector vulnerable to morbidity and mortality, and put pressure on health systems.

The protocols
During its 65th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers held in 2010, the ECOWAS created and set rules, establishing Community Procedures for Management of Veterinary Drugs and Biologicals.

The directive, known as Directive C/DIR. 1/11/10 on ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmacy and Regulation C/REG 22/11/10, appreciates the fact that handling of veterinary drugs and biological issues is not homogenous in the region and there is the need to harmonise legislations and regulations to properly address animal production and health challenges.

Some countries in the ECOWAS Sub-Region have gazetted and implemented the harmonised regulations on veterinary drugs and biologicals’ quality control.

Seven countries in the sub-region have gazetted the harmonised regulations on veterinary drugs and biologicals quality control. These countries are Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo. In the meantime, three other countries are in the process of gazetting the harmonised regulations and these are The Gambia, Niger and Ghana.

The protocol was presented to the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana on June 13, 2017 and was Ratified on February 1, 2018.

Parliament adopted the resolution to ratify Regulation C/REG. 22/11/10 and Directive C/DIR. 1/11/10 on February 1, 2018, but implementation has since delayed due to key recommendations made by Parliament to be carried out, including the enactment and/or update of animal production and veterinary laws to align with the protocol.

Benefits of speedy implementation
Mrs Norgbey explained that speedy and effective implementation of this protocol was critical because it would safeguard the interest of livestock farmers, veterinary authorities and the general public against adulteration, misleading claims and inappropriate use of veterinary products.

She added that it would also help facilitate local production of quality veterinary drugs and biologicals, facilitate timely and convenient access by livestock farmers and veterinary authorities to quality veterinary drugs and biologicals, and encourage private investment in the veterinary drugs and biologics industry.

BUSAC-led advocacy
The group has since last year done a number of advocacy activities and public sensitization for the speedy implementation of the ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmaceutical Protocol in Ghana.

It received sponsorship from the BUSAC Fund and its donors, DANIDA and USAID, as well as, USDA-Ghana Poultry Project for the advocacy project.

Mrs. Norgbey explained that WIPVAC’s work involved establishing a livestock sector coordination unit to harmonise the advocacy, that is reviewing the status of the protocol and carrying out stakeholder consultations and dialogue sessions.