October 18, 2021
by Nina Henning, GALVmed
This post was originally published on the GALVmed website.
Endemic throughout Eastern Africa, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) can devastate livestock productivity and severely hamper small-scale producers’ livelihoods and food security. FMD is a complex disease with a lot of strain variation, and there is currently no suitable vaccine that addresses all the risks in the region. Recognizing these challenges, the AgResults FMD Vaccine Challenge Project encourages the development and uptake of high-quality FMD vaccines tailored to Eastern Africa. The Pay-for-Results prize competition includes several activities to support the long-term sustainability of FMD vaccine supply and delivery in six target countries (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda).
The Project’s cost-share approach supports the sustainable supply of FMD vaccines by partially covering the purchase costs of high-quality FMD vaccines over a four-year period and driving initial uptake. Once the vaccines’ efficacy is demonstrated in the field, regional demand is expected to grow, ensuring a more stable market that ultimately benefits the typical end users – smallholder farmers.
In addition to the cost-share mechanism, the Project team is conducting several other activities to contribute to the long-term sustainability of FMD vaccine supply and delivery in the Eastern African region:
Promotion of a Harmonized Approach to FMD Vaccine Regulatory Evaluations and Authorizations
A series of workshops and meetings with National Regulatory Authorities (NRA) representatives to increase understanding of the benefits of a single FMD vaccine being authorized by multiple NRAs. This activity promotes efficient use of NRA assessor resources and reduces the costs for manufacturers to place and maintain products on the Eastern African market.
Promotion of New Eastern African FMDV Reference Antigen Panel
Developed by the World Reference Laboratory for FMD, the panel can evaluate the serological responses of FMD vaccines to see if they are suitable to use in Eastern African countries. The panel allows regulatory authorization for a single combination of vaccine strains shown to be relevant for multiple Eastern African countries. It also promotes a regional (versus national) approach to managing the risk of disease spread, creating a larger and more attractive FMD vaccine market.
Vaccine Buyer Engagement
Encourages more purchases of FMD vaccines and (where appropriate) the establishment of private sector distribution channels. This applies a more proactive approach to FMD vaccine procurement (versus the historic outbreak-driven purchasing habits) to create a more stable regional market.
Development of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Framework
A document that provides guidance on how to develop new PPPs in the Eastern African FMD vaccine value chain. The framework encourages partnerships between governments and private sector companies beyond the Project’s lifetime.
A combination of activities—from ensuring quality standards to coordinating with regional institutions to encourage private sector delivery—is needed to build a stable FMD vaccine market in Eastern Africa when the Project comes to an end. These efforts will enable smallholder farmers to access the vaccines they need to keep their livestock healthy.