The Women in Poultry Value Chain (WIPVaC) has called for the speedy implementation of the ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmacy Protocol in the country.

The group, which is an umbrella organisation of women poultry value chain actors, believe that supporting the implementation of the ECOWAS

 Veterinary Pharmaceutical Protocol will allow Ghana’s livestock sector actors to prioritise action that safeguards the development of the livestock value chain.

The National President of the apex body of Women in Poultry Value Chain (WIPVAC-Apex), Victoria Norgbey said the government’s agricultural productivity programs such as the Rearing for Food and Jobs stand to increase its impact following the implementation of the protocol.

“Animal health is human health; hence the speedy implementation of the protocol is paramount to the health of consumers and the time is now,” she said.

She explained that as the world was increasingly inter-connected, emerging and re-emerging animal diseases in one country can potentially constitute a threat to global health security and therefore the lack of appropriate policy response mechanisms makes the sector vulnerable to morbidity and mortality and puts pressure on health systems, as well as, significant economic loses to countries by way of losing animal trade, travel and loss of economic opportunities.

The protocols

During its Sixty Fifth Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers held in 2010, the ECOWAS created and set rules, establishing Community Procedures for Management of Veterinary Drugs and Biologicals.

The directive known as Directive C/DIR. 1/11/10 on ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmacy and Regulation C/REG 22/11/10 appreciates the fact that handling of veterinary drugs and biological issues is not homogenous in the region.

Also, there was a need to harmonise legislation and regulations in the region to properly address animal production and health challenges.

Some countries in the ECOWAS Sub-Region have gazetted the harmonised and implemented the regulations on Veterinary drugs and biologicals quality control.

Seven countries in the Sub-Region have gazetted the harmonized regulations on Veterinary drugs and biologicals quality control.

These countries are Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.

In the meantime, three other countries are in the process of gazetting the harmonized regulations and these are The Gambia, Niger and Ghana.

The Protocol was presented to the Parliament of Republic of Ghana on the 13th June 2017 and was Ratified on 1st February 2018.

Parliament adopted the resolution to ratify Regulation C/REG. 22/11/10 and Directive C/DIR. 1/11/10 on February 1, 2018 but implementation has since delayed due to key recommendations made by Parliament to be carried out, including the enactment and/or update of animal production and veterinary laws to align with the protocol.

Benefits of speedy implementation

Mrs. Norgbey explained that speedy and effective implementation of this protocol was critical because it will safeguard the interest of livestock farmers, veterinary authorities and the general public against adulteration, misleading claims and inappropriate use of veterinary products (which also affects human health).

It will as well as facilitate inter and intra-state trade in veterinary drugs and biologicals through the implementation of principles and rules mutually agreed at sub-regional level to dismantle trade barriers.

She added that it will also help facilitate local production of quality veterinary drugs and biologicals, facilitate timely and convenient access by livestock farmers and veterinary authorities to quality veterinary drugs and biologicals and encourage private investment in the veterinary drugs and biologics industry

BUSAC-led advocacy

In 2019, the Apex Body of Women in Poultry Value Chain (WIPVaC- Apex), an umbrella organization of women poultry value chain actors, with support from BUSAC Funds and its donors, DANIDA and USAID, started advocacy activities and public sensitization for the speedy implementation of the ECOWAS Veterinary Pharmacy Protocol in Ghana.

The USDA through its Ghana Poultry Project (GPP) has also supported the association.

WIPVAC’s work involved establishing a livestock sector coordination unit to harmonize the advocacy, that is reviewing the status of the protocol and carrying out stakeholder consultations and dialogue sessions.

The WIPVAC-Apex believes that the government’s agricultural productivity programs such Rearing for Food and Jobs stand to increase its impact with the protocol being implemented.

Animal health is human health; hence the speedy implementation of the protocol is paramount to the health of consumers.