Veterinary medicinal products have increasingly become a focus of attention and sometimes of strong warnings due to uncontrolled or illicit use, especially in some developing countries. There has been a significant increase in the demand for these products, particularly in the African continent where many of the OIE listed animal diseases are still prevalent. As a result, the liberalisation of the sector in Africa has led to veterinary medicinal products being increasingly traded and has also contributed to a diversification of internal and external sources of supply, with the risk of ending with profit driven supplying at the expense of the quality.
It is common knowledge that there is a proliferation of poor quality or even counterfeit veterinary medicinal products in the African region which poses major economical implications for the development of the livestock production in Africa. The uncontrolled movement of veterinary medicinal products also poses major threats for public health and the environment. Regional cooperation in the registration and quality control of veterinary medicinal products is therefore essential, in particular because of the limited capacities of certain countries in Africa.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has always been at the forefront in tackling the issue of the correct use and safe supply of veterinary medicinal products, both through the work of its collaborating centre in Fougères and also through the expertise of worldwide renowned expert working groups.
Echoing the recommendations of the 17th Conference of the OIE Regional Commission for Africa and of the Alive Platform Executive Committee, it has been my personal commitment to host and co-organise the conference on the “Veterinary medicinal products in Africa: towards harmonization and improvement of registration distribution and quality control” in Dakar (Senegal) in March 2008.
It will be a unique opportunity to exchange the latest experiences on the control on the quality and the distribution of veterinary medicinal products in Africa. It will also be a forum to exchange the latest scientific information and to discuss the improvement of registration procedures, legislation, distribution control mechanisms and harmonisation of these aspects on a regional level.
The control of veterinary medicinal products can only be effective through strengthened veterinary services and sound veterinary governance in the African region. I trust that the work of the conference will contribute in achieving that goal, and thus reduce the threat that this dangerous situation is currently causing to animal and public health.