Gaborone, Botswana

Members in the region discuss how to promote and upscale sustainable impact of animal health in Africa.


The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH)  presided over the 25th Conference of the Regional Commission for Africa in Gaborone, Botswana, from 21 to 24 February 2023.  

While giving his official address, the President of the Republic of Botswana, His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, welcomed WOAH Delegates, delegations and dignitaries in attendance and emphasised that his country was honoured to host the 25th Conference of the Regional Commission, being the first face to face meeting since 2019. He acknowledged that despite the successes made in the global effort to control major animal diseases, including the eradication of rinderpest, the persistence of transboundary animal diseases like foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia  (CBPP) and peste des petits ruminants (PPR) in our region is a course for concern.  

Finally, President Dr Masisi thanked WOAH for providing support to Members. He further assured the Organisation of his government’s commitment and collaboration for the work that is being done to promote animal health in the region.  

WOAH’s Director General, Dr Monique  Eloit acknowledged the continued support of Botswana in the fight against animal diseases. She reiterated that the country’s commitment to improve animal health and implement international standards for a safe trade is evident by the zones that are officially recognised disease-free by WOAH.  

Dr Eloit also intimated about the upcoming centenary of the Organisation, which will be celebrated in 2024. She stressed that going forward the Organisation must assert its position on animal health and welfare, environment, and climate change as well as pandemic prevention, preparedness, and control under the One Health approach. Furthermore, sharing information about the circulation of  diseases is an asset to ensure animal health globally, she added.  

The President of the Republic of Botswana, His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi

We are observing with apprehension as peste des petits ruminants (PPR) spreads across the continent. Goats are the backbone of rural economies especially in developing countries. In, Botswana, we have prioritised the development of small stock (sheep and goat) sector because it has huge potential to support livelihoods and create employment.

H.E Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana.

Proceedings from the conference  

During the sessions, Members engaged and discussed initiatives to improve their work towards diseases eradication, notably PPR and rabies. They shared experiences on best practices in One Health collaboration and engagement.  

Dr Eloit implored the Members to take position regarding the current global challenges to ensure the Organisation has a  voice that reaches far beyond the Veterinary Services sector.  Members were encouraged to echo the WOAH agenda in their respective countries as it is critical in the implementation of the 7th Strategic plan.  

Speaking on rabies, the executive director of the Global Alliance on Rabies Control (GARC), Prof Louis Nel, emphasised the need for countries to strengthen advocacy efforts in a bid achieve the target of eliminating rabies in the region.  


WOAH Director General, Dr Monique Eloit

We must actively engage in all political fora to ensure that our voice is heard and taken into account in ongoing negotiations for future health governance of which animal health is a critical component.

Dr. Monique Eloit - Director General, World Otganisation for Animal Health

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