Introduction

The AU-PANVAC held a retreat from 18-19 December 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. This gathering served as a platform for staff to reflect on the achievements and challenges encountered in the year 2023 and to strategize for the upcoming year, 2024. The retreat aimed to foster collaborative and teamwork, exchange ideas, and develop a comprehensive plan to further advance the goals of AU-PANVAC. In addition, AU-PANVAC staff took an opportunity to warmly congratulate Dr. C. BODJO for his appointment as Acting Director of AU-PANVAC and promised him full support as he takes lead of the center.

Achievements in 2023:

The retreat provided an opportunity to celebrate the notable achievements of AU-PANVAC in the year 2023. These accomplishments can be attributed to the collective efforts of each and every staff member, partners, and stakeholders. Some key achievements include:

  1. Quality control of vaccines, production and distribution of biological reagents for animal disease control and surveillance in Africa. AU-PANVAC made significant progress in availing quality certified vaccines and supply of essential biologicals to vaccine manufacturing facilities as well as provision of diagnostic kits and reagents to National veterinary laboratories for diseases surveillance in Africa. New diagnostic assays are under validation. This achievement has contributed to improved animal health, increased food security, and enhanced livelihoods.
  2. Technical Support and Capacity Building: AU-PANVAC provided training and knowledge-sharing initiatives focused on vaccine production and quality control to veterinary laboratory Scientists from AU member states. Six master’s students from Pan African University and 18 laboratory personnel from AUMS were received. By equipping professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge, AU-PANVAC has enhanced the continent’s ability to respond effectively to disease outbreaks and other veterinary challenges.
  3. Collaborative Partnerships: AU-PANVAC fostered partnerships with regional and international organizations, and academia. These collaborations have facilitated knowledge exchange, resource mobilization, and the sharing of best practices, ultimately strengthening the overall veterinary vaccines industry in Africa. To enhance its delivery, AU-PANVAC with the support of the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) finalized the design of a World-Class Laboratory in accordance with best practices in biosafety and biosecurity. The construction of the New Laboratory Complex with the total cost of 56 million USD will be fully supported by US-DTRA. The contractor is already selected and the construction will start early 2024.

Challenges Faced in 2023:

The retreat also provided a platform to acknowledge and address the challenges encountered by AU-PANVAC in the year 2023. By identifying these challenges, the staff   developed strategies to overcome them in the future. Some notable challenge includes:

Funding and shortage of staff Constraints:  Adequate and sustained funding remains a challenge for AU-PANVAC as well as limited number of staff hinder the center’s ability to scale up its operations and impacts its service delivery time.

Planning for 2024:

The retreat served as a crucial platform for planning and setting priorities for the year 2024. staff engaged in strategic discussions and formulated a roadmap to guide AU-PANVAC’s activities. The key focus areas for the upcoming year include:

  1. Quality control Service and Research Development: AU-PANVAC aims to intensify its Quality Control Service of vaccines and increase its research in improving vaccines and diagnostic tools. This will involve reducing the service delivery time, improving effective communication with all partners and leveraging emerging technologies to improve quality control services and diagnostic development.
  2. Advocacy and Resource Mobilization: AU-PANVAC will intensify its advocacy efforts to raise awareness about the importance of veterinary vaccines and diagnostics tools in livestock development and secure increased funding from AUC, donors, and other stakeholders. This will enable the center to expand its operations.
  3. Infrastructure development: AU-PANVAC sets groundbreaking ceremony in February 2024 to launch the construction of the new facility complex funded in collaboration with US-DTRA.

Conclusion:

The AU-PANVAC retreat held in Nairobi in December 2023 provided a valuable opportunity to reflect on the achievements and challenges of the year and plan for the future. The center’s accomplishments in vaccine quality control, reagents production and distribution, capacity building, and collaborative partnerships were acknowledged. A strategic roadmap for 2024 was put in place to improve effective communication and service delivery time. The Acting Director Dr Bodjo thanked the staff for their active engagements in the discussions and concluded the retreat by wishing them happy end of year festivals. 

AUSTRALIAN AMBASSADOR VISITS AU-PANVAC

AU-PANVAC was honored to receive a visit from Australia’s ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent presentative to the African Union, His Excellency Peter Doyle and Rebecca Yohannes,a Senior Programs Manager and Policy Analyst on Wednesday 12th February, 2020.

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