Since antiquity, animal diseases in Africa have had an impact on wildlife, livestock and human settlement patterns. Food security, sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity can all be adversely affected by the inadequate control of animal diseases. While the responsibility of disease control globally lies with the government of each country, in the African context resources and the capacity to control animal diseases vary considerably from country to country.
The spreading of diseases across international borders, particularly where partner countries are aiming to establish TFCAs, needs to be carefully monitored and controlled. Peace Parks Foundation, through its TFCA Veterinary Programme (TFCA-VP), supports TFCA partner countries in the integration and coordination of their disease control strategies.
The TFCA-VP programme is currently managed by the Centre for Veterinary Wildlife Studies of the University of Pretoria. The aims and objectives of the TFCA-VP are currently under review, with the focus shifting from a local regional southern African approach to one that incorporates all TFCA’s.
Veterinary Control Policies
The TFCA-VP regularly participates in discussions between government veterinary authorities and other government organisations regarding veterinary and related policies to manage transboundary disease risks and to promote integrated and/or complementary disease control policies within and between countries.
Research and surveillance networks
An MoU with the University of Pretoria, SANParks and other institutions allows access to vast research networks, infrastructure and expertise, enabling the analysis of disease risks at the wildlife/livestock/human interface.
The TFCA-VP also participates in formal and informal networks relevant to important veterinary issues in TFCAs, particularly those related to bovine tuberculosis and foot-and-mouth disease.
One of the critical needs identified by the three partner countries of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is integrated information management by its veterinary wildlife role-players. The Foundation supported the development of a regional Veterinary Information Management System, incorporating inputs from the regional role players. The system was never properly functional, and is no longer in operation. The development of a smaller and more user friendly database system is under discussion and investigation by representatives of all three countries.
Financial and logistical assistance is currently provided to a foot-and-mouth disease project in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park region. This veterinary project is investigating the best utilisation of existing vaccination schedules for FMD within a southern African context from an epidemiological context, and by developing new assays for some of the FMD serotypes, providing meaningful interpretation of laboratory results that will inform policy makers in the region. Two MSc students are currently registered under this project.
Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station
Development partners Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, the University of Pretoria and Peace Parks Foundation re-opened the refurbished Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station in August 2010. Subsequent significant upgrades to the Station have been performed largely with financial assistance from Peace Parks Foundation, thanks to the donors listed below, and the University of Pretoria. Accommodation upgrades have allowed students of the University of Pretoria and elsewhere access to the Mnisi area, to both ‘One Health’ and related research projects, as well as clinical training at the Hluvukani Animal Health Centre. Laboratory upgrades are currently under way to increase the research functionality at the Station.
Visit this website for more information on the Research Station's work