Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania are set to benefit from a program-“Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT-2)”-that aims at mitigating risks of diseases to livestock and human. The initiative will also support broader goals of risk assessments and management by better defining livestock production and marketing systems. This was announced during a two-day program launch in Kenya between 12th and 13th January 2016. EPT-2 is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the tune of USD 87 million and coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
During the launch, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries who officiated the event noted that Eastern African countries feature highly on the list of high-risk countries where zoonotic diseases such as Ebola and MERS-Cov are endemic. Indeed, researchers have found that over ten zoonotic diseases are responsible for 2.2 million human deaths annually especially in low and middle income countries. The five year program (2015-2019) represents part of the US Government’s investment into the country-led Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). It aims at mitigating hazards resulting from biological risks by accelerating progress in ensuring countries have robust systems to prevent, detect and respond to pandemic zoonotic diseases and also to curb the threat of antimicrobial resistance. Based on recommendations from the meeting, teams will be constituted in the implementing countries in collaboration with a number of national and international partners to prepare country implementation plans which should be concluded by end of February 2016.