Improved animal health services could hugely increase livestock productivity and the earnings of livestock keepers. Although provision has expanded and improved across Ethiopia, endemic diseases limit livestock productivity and agricultural development. These losses have significant economic, food security and livelihood impacts. As part of the Ethiopia livestock master plan, an analysis of animal health by the Livestock State Ministry (LSM) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) outline the steps needed to transform the livestock sector, published as the latest ILRI brief: Livestock health priorities in the Ethiopia livestock master plan.

The brief highlights key areas for future research in the country, including epidemiological and socio-economic studies on transboundary animal diseases and technology transfer of reliable thermostable vaccines against major livestock diseases.

As part of the plan, the 10 most important diseases were ranked according to their impact on rural households and their livelihoods, markets and value chains, and intensification pathways. The global scores were weighted for total numbers of households affected, total value added generated from the sub-chain, and the animal populations affected. Subsequent discussion with stakeholders generated a top priority list of diseases in the country.

Ensuring key policies such as the implementation of livestock movement control and identification and traceability systems are prioritized was high on the ILRI/LSM list, as was the coordination of effective surveillance systems strategies to meet the challenges posed by emerging infectious diseases, and coordinated emergency preparedness and contingency plans for exotic, emerging and/or re-emerging diseases...

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