E-learning methods for sustainable Newcastle disease (ND) control curriculum in Africa

Training Master Trainers for sustainable animal health delivery

This month we kickstarted the ‘Pilot of Master Trainer (MT) courses in Africa to improve Newcastle disease control in village chickens’ project in partnership with the African Union Pan-African Veterinary Vaccine Centre (AU-PANVAC). It is our pleasure to introduce you to Elisa Ferrão, Oraca Cuambe, Luciano Alemão and Gedeão Macanze from Mozambique, and Etsegenet Tekeba from Ethiopia who are participating in the ‘Prevention and control of Newcastle disease (ND) in the Field’ course. The course includes modules on: the importance of ND control in village chickens for improving food and nutrition security; field diagnosis and sustainable surveillance of ND; disease reporting; working with communities; vaccination campaigns; and the all-important cold chain training. The modules are delivered virtually by national and global animal health specialists, who mentor the MTs in live Q&A sessions and practical assignments relevant to their current employment in animal health government departments.

Background to the Africa-wide program

With funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian Government and in partnership with AU-PANVAC, Kyeema has developed a program to improve AU Member States’ (MS) capacity to sustainably control ND in village chickens. The program has developed three curricula for training National Master Trainers: ND vaccine production and quality assurance; Laboratory diagnosis of ND; and Prevention and control of ND in the field. The curriculum modules have been prepared by regional experts and peer-reviewed by animal health professionals from AU Member States.

AU-PANVAC and Kyeema are now working together to pilot e-learning of the ND control training modules for animal health personnel in selected AU-MS. Project activities will focus on providing quality e-learning materials in order to build AU-MS’ capacity and decrease the need for external support. This will increase the number of effective and efficient ND control personnel operating in participant countries, in order to improve food and nutrition security for low-income rural families.

A trial of e-learning materials to support community vaccinators to deliver sustainable Newcastle disease control with new partner VETAID in Kenya

This activity started in early 2021, with our partner VETAID East Africa undertaking an emergency ‘ring vaccination’ program in Narok North and West sub-counties to respond to an ND outbreak and minimise the impact of the disease on chickens in the surrounding communities. VETAID’s Director, Dr Gabriel Turasha, reported it was a good opportunity to raise awareness about how locally led sustainable ND control can prevent this from happening again in the future. Community vaccinators were trained and equipped to conduct vaccination campaigns and are currently being consulted on how training videos can be developed from existing ND control awareness materials to be used as part of their training toolkit. The toolkit will also include mobile phones to access applications like EpiCollect and messaging services; ND outbreak surveillance; and ND control awareness materials.
To help us with this activity, Kyeema is mentoring three female veterinary volunteers from Australia and Kenya. Tiffanie Huynh and Samantha Leung are fourth year veterinary students at the University of Melbourne who are interested in pursuing careers in veterinary public health, particularly in One Health and Welfare initiatives. They will be working with Dr Coletta Cherono Sang, a recent graduate veterinarian from Egerton University in Kenya to adapt, film and produce video training resources with the community vaccinators on the ground in Narok, Kenya.

We acknowledge the support of the Australian government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program.