The Angolan government requested support to set up a program to reduce and control outbreaks of Newcastle disease, which is a major concern for disadvantaged rural communities in Angola.
In response, the European Commission funded Kyeema to work directly with the Angolan government from 2009-2012 to set up I-2 Newcastle disease vaccine production and trial its use in the field.
The program was based in Lubango in the south of Angola and worked directly with the Angolan Veterinary Services Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. There was a strong desire from the Angolan government to get ND vaccination programs up and running as quickly as possible.
Assosiate Professor Robyn Alders undertook an inception visit to Angola in October 2008 to design the program and later joined the project as Team Leader in July 2011. Under the project Kyeema assisted the government to purchase additional laboratory equipment, consumables and to rehabilitate the laboratory electrical system and the cool room. Kyeema also trained laboratory personnel in the production and quality control of the I-2 vaccine and established twinning activities between the vaccine production laboratories in Angola and Mozambique. The Angola Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries inaugurated the laboratory on 3 May 2012.
Although the project officially ended on 17 May 2012, ongoing twinning support of activities by staff of the Directorate of Animal Science of the Mozambican Agricultural Research Institute continues. We are very hopeful that it will have a lasting positive impact for rural women who depend on chickens for a livelihood.
During 2006-2008, Kyeema provided an international expert on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), Dr Mary Young, to work with both Provincial and central Governments in the development and implementation of provincial strategies for North Sumatra and Banda Aceh and a national strategy for the management of highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture.
She also assessed the efficacy of the national strategy towards Newcastle disease and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Banda Aceh and North Sumatra in Indonesia.
South-East and East Asian countries have been severely affected by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). This follows the emergence of a new virulent strain of virus in southern China in 1996 and its subsequent spread throughout the region since 2003. From past experience, it is understood that intimate contact between livestock (poultry and swine) and people in parts of Asia creates a favourable situation for the evolution of a human pandemic strain. The current strain of the virus (designated H5N1 by virtue of the characterisation of surface markers) has already demonstrated its ability to infect and kill people. It has been fatal in approximately 50 per cent of people who have tested positive for the disease. To date, there is limited evidence of person-to-person transmission. Swine and other affected mammals appear to be only incidentally infected, playing no significant role in virus transmission. However, this situation could change rapidly and the emergence, by recombination or mutation, of a highly pathogenic strain of Influenza which could transmit rapidly between people and cause a global pandemic is a matter of international concern. The most effective means of protecting human welfare is to combat the precursor virus in its Avian hosts, thus pre-empting the appearance of a pandemic strain.
Dr Young created standard operating procedures (SOPs) for prevention, containment and control of Avian Influenza and Newcastle disease in poultry distribution schemes and vulnerable communities. She also assessed emergency preparedness procedures for HPAI and advised on improving the current system and documented the findings in a comprehensive report aimed at providing guidance for FAO, official veterinary services and NGOs.