Who We Are
RAHC is an intergovernmental agency assigned the mandate of providing an essential framework to monitor, aggregate, evaluate and analyse data pertaining to emerging diseases affecting animals in West Africa.
Recognizing the need to effectively curb the spread of Transboundary Animal Diseases (TAD) in ECOWAS member states, coming after the avian influenza pandemic that occurred in 2003, the Regional Animal Health Centre (RAHC) was established in April 2006 as a specialized technical animal health structure tasked with the responsibility of improving animal health among other tasks relating to the implementation of the ECOWAS Livestock Policy.
RAHC is an intergovernmental agency assigned with the mandate of providing an essential framework to monitor and evaluate the aggregation and analysis of data, as well as coordinated strategies in intervention techniques aimed at combating existing, and emerging disease affecting animals in West Africa using guiding principles from the 2007-2020 ECOWAS Agricultural Strategic Plan.
With the ongoing process of globalization that has increased the fluidity of movement – both formal and informal – of animals and their products, there is a growing risk for animals to become exposed to TAD pathogens. To reduce the entry of pathogens through different pathways, properly and promptly detect, investigate and control outbreaks, RAHC also functions as a coordination and research hub, leading efforts in the investment and strengthening of veterinary systems, livestock and health-focused policies, in addition to other intersecting disciplines that affect the quality of animal health in West Africa, which directly or indirectly impacts its people and economy.
For effective coordination of its activities, the centre is under the administrative and technical supervision of the Commissioner for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, acting by delegation from the President of the ECOWAS Commission.
The ECOWAS Heads of States and Government declared the Regional Animal Health Center (RAHC) the ECOWAS Specialized Center on animal health through the Supplementary Act A/SA.20/02/12. Prior to this declaration, the Center was a collaborating Center between the African Union Inter-african Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), Food and Agriculture Organization Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (FAO-ECTAD) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) at the onset of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Africa. The RAHC was in operation with a limited number of initiatives, until the ECOWAS Commission fully operationalized the Center in 2018.
To achieve the animal health and welfare mandate, the RAHC works by coordinating actions in ECOWAS Member States that are the main stakeholders, and by building relevant partnerships and mobilizing resources for effective delivery of its mandate. The RAHC relies on a coordination structure composed of the regional Animal Health Networks including the epidemiological surveillance (RESEPI) and the Veterinary Laboratories (RESOLAB) Networks, as well as the Regional Veterinary Committee (RVC), composed of the Directors of Veterinary Services/Chief Veterinary Officers of the ECOWAS Member States (Regulation C/REG 23/11/10). The RAHC further collaborates with several technical and development partners.
As an agency, our mission revolves around monitoring and reducing the spread of Transboundary Animal Diseases and zoonosis within ECOWAS member states to ensure the safety of both animals and humans.
RAHC has the mandate to coordinate actions that contribute to food security and nutrition, improved livelihoods, and wealth creation by improving animal health and welfare through the coordination of actions for the prevention and control of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) and zoonoses including the formulation and harmonization of relevant regional text.
More specifically, RACH has the mandate to:
- Coordinate the harmonization of animal health policies in the ECOWAS region by supporting the design of national and regional strategies for combating transboundary animal diseases and zoonosis.
- Inform, communicate and sensitize ECOWAS Member States about the regional animal health disease situation, as well as the risks of outbreak and spread of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) and zoonoses.
- Build capacities for diagnosis and regional epidemiological surveillance of TADs and zoonoses.
- Strengthen the delivery of Veterinary Services in ECOWAS Member States by improving regulatory frameworks, seeking relevant investments in the livestock sector to guarantee efficacy and sustainability, building capacity through training seminars and workshops, quality control of veterinary products, and harmonization of practices in line with international standards.
- Conduct a feasibility study of national and regional investment programmes.