Joining hands in Mali to discuss business models for a new thermotolerant peste des petits ruminants (PPR) vaccine
Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) disease is a major concern for the livestock sector in Mali. Its occurrence can have severe consequences on the large part of the population who depend on livestock as a major source of income, especially women and small-scale farmers in rural areas. Since 2016, a new technology to produce a thermotolerant vaccine has been transferred to Laboratoire Central Veterinaire (LCV) – Mali by ILRI, through a USAID-funded project Mali-Livestock Technology Scaling Program (FTF-MLTSP) with support from Hester Biosciences. LCV principal investigator Cheick Sidibe indicated that the proposed vaccine is very stable at higher temperatures, and can be easily handled and used in hotter and remote regions of the country. By reducing challenges related to transport, handling and cold chain storage, it will substantially improve vaccination coverage during national campaigns.
LCV has completed laboratory trials and produced positive results, while field validations are ongoing. ILRI and LCV are working towards scaling up the new thermotolerant vaccine across the country and in the region.
It is within this context that on 8 November 2022 a national workshop was organized through the activities of the new project ‘Sustainable Animal Productivity for Livelihoods, Nutrition, and Gender Inclusion (SAPLING)’, led by ILRI in collaboration with CIAT and ICARDA. The meeting brought together more than 45 representatives of different stakeholders and animal health actors to identify the elements of a business model for the scale-up and commercialization of PPR thermotolerant vaccine in Mali and the sub-region.
The opening ceremony of the workshop was chaired by Drissa Coulibaly, the representative of the adviser to the minister delegate in charge of livestock, the director of National Directorate of Veterinary Services (DNSV), who in his speech showed the interest of the government of Mali for such an innovation. He also indicated that the government would do everything possible to support this initiative.
Boubacar Maiga, the director of LCV, invited stakeholders to make relevant proposals for the scaling up of the thermotolerant vaccine that will contribute to a decrease in the prevalence rate of PPR and even its total eradication in Mali and in the sub-region.
Abdou Fall, country leader of the SAPLING project in Mali, congratulated the stakeholders for their large attendance at the workshop and urged them to be strongly involved in scaling up.
The workshop was then marked by three presentations. Abdou Fall presented the SAPLING Animal Health Work Package to participants. He was followed by ILRI scientific officer Ahmadou Sow’s presentation on the perceptions of vaccination by farmers and agents and feedback to farmers after the field tests. This was followed by deputy director general of LCV Cheick Abou Kounta Sidibé, who made a presentation on the thermotolerant vaccine production (technology, production capacity, quality of the vaccine, field testing). These presentations were followed by a question-and-answer session. Afterwards, participants worked in groups to address questions on three topics, including (1) constraints and proposed solutions for the proper use of the vaccine (2) business opportunities, and (3) the establishment of a strategy for vaccine dissemination. The group works were followed by a series of very rich questions and answers session.
From the group work and discussions in plenary, we can highlight the following:
- The proposed business model highlights the qualities and benefits of the vaccine and identifies the target customers: veterinary services (public and private), wholesalers, NGOs, international organisations, and projects/programs. Distribution and marketing will be carried out by the veterinary services (public and private) at national level and wholesalers at sub-regional level. Dissemination at national and sub-regional levels would be carried out by LCV, NGOs, international organisations and projects/programs which are the main partners. Marketing will be done by informing the various partners such as veterinary agents, wholesalers, NGOs and foreign customers of the existence of the new vaccine on the market, and of its characteristics and advantages by means of technical sheets and during stakeholder meetings at national and international level.
- Institutions that can assist in the promotion and implementation of the vaccine in the sub-region are: i) the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) for the integration of the range of vaccines in the vaccine bank and the promotion of the thermotolerant vaccine; ii) the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the purchase of the vaccine from LCV and the promotion by ICRC Mali; iii) the Regional Animal Health Centre (CRSA) for promotion; iv) the National Directorate of Veterinary Services (DNSV) for promotion; and v) the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) for the licensing of the vaccine through marketing authorisation.
- Strategies for dissemination in Mali and in the west African sub-region must be based on: i) the LCV marketing department; ii) communication between field agents (association of veterinary agents); iii) national and international meetings of vaccine and animal health stakeholders; iv) meetings and awareness-raising sessions for communities and stakeholders (farmers, veterinarians); and v) political dialogue to increase the power of the technical information.
- Improvements to be made to existing vaccine distribution chain in Mali and the west African sub-region are: i) plan vaccine orders in collaboration with the various partners; ii) organize a vaccine webinar with partners; iii) strengthen the storage capacity of the central veterinary laboratory and the National Veterinary Services Directorate; iv) strengthen the legislative and regulatory framework for vaccine distribution; v) improve the traceability of vaccines and vi) strengthen control of the vaccine distribution chain.
The closing ceremony was marked by words of thanks from the LCV Director and Michel Dione, head of the animal health component of SAPLING Global. He invited the participants to commit to making the scaling up of the thermostable vaccine a reality in Mali and in the sub-region.
For more information on the SAPLING research initiative in Mali and the PPR thermotolerant vaccine, please reach out to Abdou Fall (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michel Dione (email@example.com)
The SAPLING initiative is led by ILRI’s Isabelle Baltenweck (firstname.lastname@example.org) with deputy lead ICARDA’s Rekik Mourad (email@example.com).
Written by Assoumane Maiga (ILRI).