It is now generally acknowledged that intersectoral collaboration is a key component of animal health strategies, an excellent illustration of which are public–private partnerships (PPPs). So why are PPPs so important to the livestock sector and for controlling animal diseases?
As an introduction to this edition of Panorama, dedicated to PPPs, it should be noted that partnership refers to close collaboration between parties from different sectors that have common interests. This requires actively building links between the various participants who, while maintaining their autonomy, agree to pool their resources to achieve a common goal. Each party retains its mission but shares responsibilities.
In the specific case of public-private partnerships, a balance must also be found between public and private interests: defending the general interest, which is the driving force behind public action, must be reconciled with the preservation of the private commercial interests that drive the economy.
The objectives of animal disease control programmes that bring together the public and private sectors can be divided into three groups:
- an economic objective that seeks to limit production losses, provide a decent income for producers and generate benefits for enterprises associated with the sector;
- a health objective to prevent the transmission of diseases, including to humans, and to provide safe, quality food;
- a commercial objective which involves the reduction of animal health barriers to trade.
Achieving these objectives requires the implementation of coherent control programmes throughout a national territory backed by appropriate human and financial resources. But, let us move beyond the theory.
Is it possible to imagine preventive programmes that are not drawn up in collaboration with professional organisations? No. Vaccination campaigns cannot be organised without the help of professional associations. Systematic screening and culling operations are better accepted if farmers’ representatives help official services to explain the reasons for such decisions. Not forgetting the important role of private veterinarians that support the official Veterinary Services.
Can you envisage control programmes without the cooperation of the private pharmaceutical sector? No. The availability of diagnostic reagents and adequate supplies of vaccines result from a common desire to adapt production to needs.
Conversely, are professionals in a position to open up markets without the support of the official Veterinary Services which negotiate animal health certificates with the authorities of importing countries, in particular to reopen borders after outbreaks of disease? No, of course not.
There are many examples of public–private partnership programmes, some of which are found in this edition of Panorama. They show that it is impossible to envisage an effective public sector without structured relations with the private sector, while the professional private sector cannot develop without a strong public sector.
Whatever the difficulties, the OIE is committed to working towards fruitful public-private partnerships.
I trust that you will find this issue of Panorama informative and enjoyable reading.
World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)