This year, working in partnership with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC), we were pleased to introduce the first World Rabies Day MSD Animal Health Awards. These awards were established in order to recognize people and organisations across the globe who are working to eradicate rabies. We invited nominations from four regions: Asia, Africa, the Americas and MEEREB. Nominees could be either individuals or organisations, comprising eight categories in total. The winners were announced on World Rabies Day. The individual award recipients were Dr Thinlay Bhutia (India), Dr Agnes Jemutai Korir (Kenya), Prof Kastriot Korro (Albania), and Dr Sergio Recuenco-Cabrera (Peru). The organization winners were the Visakha Society for Protection and Care of Animals (India), the Liberia Animal Welfare & Conservation Society (Liberia), the Kurdistan Organisation for Animal Rights Protection (Iraq), and the Zach Jones Memorial Fund (US). Our congratulations go out to all – your stories were truly inspiring.
In August, US Homeland Security held a review of current research into key diseases. The Defense branch is supported by a strong and diverse group of scientists, engineers, program managers and analysts. It’s important for us to be there as part of that group, because its focus is to improve agricultural awareness. Learning about key concerns and considering how to apply our solutions not only helps us plan for the US, but also for around the world.
John Atkinson attended the Tropical Animal Diseases and Veterinary Public Health conference hosted by the Association of Institutions for Tropical Veterinary Medicine and the Society of Tropical Veterinary Medicine. While there, John was able to present the MSD Animal Health award to Dr Wudu Temesgen Jemberu for his paper on FMD and its economic impact in Ethiopia.
Amongst many important topics, Lumpy Skin Disease and its rapid progression are a constant priority. We were pleased to be able to attend and take part in the discussions at the OIE Regional Commission for Europe. Some key decisions were made to assist in the control of the disease and halt its spread. We were able to take some of the messages and apply them towards our production plans, enabling us to maintain a strong supply where needed for the rest of this year and 2017.
GALVmed makes livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics accessible and affordable to the millions in developing countries for whom livestock is a lifeline. As a founding company of GALVmed, I was able to join the board meeting in Edinburgh. I never need much excuse to go back to the country where I was born, but I am always pleased to support the activities of GALVmed. We continue to strive towards providing a sustainable supply of medicines for Africa, especially focusing on the special needs of the region. The focus on both product and market development is key to finding solutions that can have an impact. We heard about some great work with Newcastle Disease vaccines that appears to have made a real difference!
Fred Lohr from Mission Rabies visited the Madison site to talk to us about their programmes, which are supported by the vaccines we donate. We hosted a webcast which was well attended, both in the office and online. It was interesting to learn how Mission Rabies conducts the campaigns, and we heard some more about the vaccination drive attended by our own colleague, Marta Nowak. It is worth taking a moment to reflect that, in addition to Mission Rabies, MSD Animal Health has now donated over 2 million doses to the Afya project, reducing human deaths from rabies in the region.