Zoetis A.L.P.H.A. initiative improves livestock health and farmers’ livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa - Veterinary Practice
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Zoetis A.L.P.H.A. initiative improves livestock health and farmers’ livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa

1.7 billion doses of vaccines and medicines were administered in four years

Livestock
health and farmers’ livelihoods have been dramatically improved in Sub-Saharan
Africa, following the administration of 1.7 billion doses of vaccines and
medicines and over 650,000 diagnostic tests through Zoetis’ African Livestock
Productivity and Health Advancement (A.L.P.H.A.) initiative, now in its fourth
year.

The
initiative – founded in 2017 with a $14 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – is dedicated to improving animal health and livelihoods
in the region by increasing access to quality veterinary vaccines, medicines
and services, diagnostic laboratory networks, and animal health training.

In
four years of activity, the company has made significant progress in
establishing the infrastructure and training to improve the state of animal
health and productivity. Ten new fully operational serology laboratories have
been established across Nigeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda, and 13,234
farmers, veterinarians and para-veterinarians have been trained – with an
estimated extended reach of 657,800 people through train-the-trainer
programs.

The
A.L.P.H.A. initiative is helping Zoetis meet its aspirations to grow veterinary
care in emerging markets under its new Driven
to Care

long-term sustainability goals, which build on the company’s purpose to nurture
the world by advancing care for animals.

Glenn
David, Executive Vice President and Group President at Zoetis, said: “Studies
show that when households in a developing region acquire livestock, they report
higher income, improved nutrition and better access to financial resources.
Animal health is extremely important in contributing to sustainable development
goals and economic opportunities in Africa.

“Over
the last four years, we’ve demonstrated that greater access to medicines and
technology can help farmers raise healthier animals and secure a more
productive and sustainable food supply and income. The progress being made is
critical to the economic development of the region and well-being of its
people, especially as they face COVID-19 and worsening famine rates,” said
David.

Through
dedicated regulatory activities, Zoetis submitted 85 veterinary products for
registration approval. The company also delivered 35 products – primarily for
preventative care – to the markets, in addition to the Zoetis diagnostics
portfolio in A.L.P.H.A. countries, which are all crucial components of
sustainable development in the animal health sector. Four years ago, there were just four Zoetis products
available to farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa to address the health of their
herds.

According
to Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), 600 million
of the world’s poorest households keep livestock as an essential source of
income. Approximately 70 percent of the world’s “extreme poor” depend upon livestock,
making animal health solutions necessary for sustainable livestock production.
Reducing mortality and morbidity through better prevention, detection and
treatment of animal disease can significantly shrink the footprint of farming
in all regions and increase productivity. This means strengthening diseases
surveillance, vaccinating animals, and increasing the use of diagnostics and
training in responsible antibiotic use for bacterial treatments.

Unique
solutions improve animal health and sustainability through cold-chain management

“The
A.L.P.H.A. initiative has helped vets enhance their technical knowledge, while
also helping farmers improve productivity and make the sector more sustainable.
Farmers in the region now embrace better farming practices, improving their
profitability, income and quality of life,” said Dr Ibrahim Ado Shuhu,
President of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA).

One of the
key learnings of A.L.P.H.A. in the last four years is the importance of cold
chain management for vaccines until the “last mile.” Given most vaccines can
get spoiled in cases of temperature fluctuation resulting from frequent power
supply issues, A.L.P.H.A. supplied specialized refrigerators to 21 partners
through five-year sponsorship agreements (to safeguard equipment use). These
Lite Vaccine Refrigerators with remote temperature monitoring devices can work
without a power supply, which ensures vaccines are kept within their acceptable
temperature ranges independently from power fluctuations.

Dr
Funmi Ojelade, Lab Veterinarian, Chi Lab, Ibadan Nigeria said: “The greatest
impact of the A.L.P.H.A. initiative is that it’s reaching out to grassroots
poultry farmers providing innovative solutions, education and diagnostics to
help them reduce costs and losses on their farms. Animals are healthier, more
productive and enable farmers to improve their livelihoods.”

Working
towards UN Food Systems Solutions

Promoting a
rapid uptake of existing, scalable best practices and tools in animal health
and husbandry is one of the solutions promoted by FAO that could reduce the
emissions footprint of livestock farming by 30 percent. The impact of A.L.P.H.A., and
more generally of community development through livestock productivity,
supports better livestock health for more nature-positive, protein production
that measurably improves natural resource use efficiency, limits the need for
new farmland, and supports a growing population.

“Unique
in our approach is the sustainability angle, which is essential to encourage a
mindset shift in the livestock sector towards entrepreneurialism and ownership.
Empowerment of the farming and veterinary sectors is critical to enable
Sub-Saharan Africa to meet the rising productivity needs of the region in a
sustainable manner,” said Dr. Gabriel Varga, Regional Director Sub-Saharan
Africa at Zoetis and lead of the A.L.P.H.A. initiative.

“Project
Shine” case study: Advancing livestock health contributes to stability and
peace to the Fulani nomadic tribe in Northern Nigeria

The
settlement of the pastoral Fulani nomadic tribe in local communities in
Northern Nigeria has been a source of tensions in an unstable region for
decades. A.L.P.H.A. partnered with the University of Jos, Nigeria, to establish
positive relationships based on improvement of animal health, access to
diagnostics and health solutions via mobile vet clinics, and trainings to
improve farmers’ livelihoods and income to local communities.

With
15 farms involved in the training, increased surveillance of over 5,000 head of
cattle and 30 animal health workers trained, positive impacts have been seen on
productivity and income of locally established farms. Donation of goats to
families – especially single mothers and widows – was a first step in
establishing a regular source of nutrition and income to the poorest population
in the region.

“A.L.P.H.A.
has brought multiple benefits to the Fulani community, to the veterinary
community and to the nation as a whole in facilitating access to animal
medicines, vaccines and diagnostic services,” said Dr Dare Omoniwa, Large
Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Jos, Nigeria.
“Medicalisation of animals had a very big impact. It has been used to good
effect to build unity, trust and peace in the region.”

These
important learnings highlighting the role that Animal Health plays for the
development of a more sustainable livestock production are critical to carry
into the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit and follow-on COP-26.

About
A.L.P.H.A.

The
A.L.P.H.A. initiative, co-funded with the Bill and 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.

About Zoetis

As
the world’s leading animal health company, Zoetis is driven by a singular
purpose: to nurture our world and humankind by advancing care for animals.
After nearly 70 years innovating ways to predict, prevent, detect, and treat
animal illness, Zoetis continues to stand by those raising and caring for
animals worldwide – from livestock farmers to veterinarians and pet owners. The
company’s leading portfolio and pipeline of medicines, vaccines, diagnostics,
and technologies make a difference in over 100 countries. In 2020, Zoetis
generated revenue of $6.7 billion with ~11,300 employees. For more information,
visit the website.

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