Experiences with supporting rinderpest vaccination delivery in South Sudan and lessons learned for control of other diseases

18 May 2021

Dr Bryony Jones, Royal Veterinary College, University of London

In this International Veterinary Vaccinology Network webinar, Dr Bryony Jones discussed rinderpest vaccination and its role the eradication of the disease. The session was chaired by Professor Brian Perry, a member of the IVVN's Network Management Board.


Rinderpest is a contagious viral disease of cattle and wildlife causing high morbidity and mortality that was eradicated from the world in 2011. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the southern region of Sudan, now the Republic of South Sudan, experienced widespread outbreaks of rinderpest, threatening food security and livelihoods and providing a source of infection for neighbouring East African countries. A community-based animal health programme was established by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with the aim of improving food security through the control of rinderpest and other diseases. Between 1992 and 2000, rinderpest vaccination campaigns using thermotolerant vaccine were conducted by community-based animal health workers (CAHWs), trained and supported by UNICEF and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under the Operation Lifeline Sudan Livestock Programme. The incidence of rinderpest outbreaks decreased dramatically - the last confirmed outbreak was in 1998 - allowing Sudan to cease vaccination in 2002 and enter the final surveillance stage of rinderpest eradication leading to the Republic of Sudan’s successful 2007 application to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for recognition of freedom from rinderpest. Some key reasons for this success were the network of CAHWs and AHAs combined with the availability of a highly effective thermotolerant vaccine that allowed good vaccination coverage in remote areas, and good coordination and collaboration between all stakeholders at community, national and international levels. Some lessons learned from this programme are discussed in relation to the control of other infectious diseases.

About the speaker

Bryony Jones is a Research Fellow in peste des petits ruminants (PPR) epidemiology and control in the Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), University of London. She graduated as a veterinarian from Bristol University and spent 4 years in mixed veterinary practice in the UK before studying for the MSc in Tropical Veterinary Medicine at the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh. From 1995 to 2007 she worked in southern Sudan on the Operation Lifeline Sudan community-based animal health programme firstly as project manager for VETAID, then livestock programme coordinator for UNICEF and finally rinderpest eradication project manager for Veterinaires Sans Frontiers Belgium, which included the completion of the rinderpest vaccination programme and the establishment of the rinderpest surveillance system to verify absence of rinderpest infection. She has since completed the MSc Veterinary Epidemiology at RVC and London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and a PhD on Small ruminant production, marketing and health in the Afar Region of Ethiopia; implications for control of infectious disease. Recent research has focussed on the epidemiology of PPR in livestock and wildlife in the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem, and epidemiology and socio-economics of PPR in East and West Africa, in collaboration with national partners and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). In 2015, Bryony received the British Veterinary Association's Trevor Blackburn Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to animal health and welfare in Africa and the impact of her work in animal disease control, particularly her work in helping to eradicate rinderpest from South Sudan.

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