Sub-Saharan Africa is home to some of the world’s largest livestock populations – and the highest density of impoverished livestock farmers. Zoetis Inc., the largest global animal health company, announced today that it will receive a $14.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over the next three years to develop veterinary diagnostic networks and animal health infrastructure in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda. The grant represents the largest grant ever given to an animal health company by the foundation.
The grant will enable Zoetis to develop veterinary laboratory networks and outreach services to increase the availability of local veterinary medicines and services, implement sustainable disease diagnostics and strengthen local veterinary expertise.
“We believe the combination of Zoetis’ leadership in animal health and experience in forging broad collaborations in emerging markets will allow us to accelerate the advancement of animal health in the region,” said Juan Ramón Alaix, chief executive officer of Zoetis. “Access to medicines and technology will help farmers raise healthier animals and secure more sustainable revenue, which is critical to the economic development of the region and well-being of its population.”
As one of the most rapidly developing regions in the world, sub-Saharan Africa is home to some of the largest livestock populations in the world but also has the highest density of impoverished livestock farmers. Zoetis said livestock are an essential asset to rural communities, and the health of livestock is critical to achieving food security in areas of exceptionally high animal and human disease incidence.
The program, funded by the Gates Foundation, will be called the African Livestock Productivity & Health Advancement (ALPHA) initiative. Zoetis will collaborate with governmental authorities, local veterinary associations, national and international non-government organizations, farmer associations and the private sector to maximize its ability to positively impact the region. Over the course of three years, Zoetis said it will use the progress made and key learnings to work towards a longer-term sustainable business model and animal health infrastructure for livestock farmers in the region.