One of the objectives of the Pan African Programme for the Control of Epizootics (PACE) was to set up epidemiological surveillance networks in African countries. A survey based on a written questionnaire was conducted to review the technical and institutional organisation of epidemiological surveillance networks in nine French-speaking countries, including five in West Africa (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Guinea) and four in Central Africa (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad). The survey results showed that there are more similarities than differences among epidemiological surveillance networks. In general, they were found to be technically and institutionally well established. However, the two weaknesses of the majority of networks are the inadequate diagnostic capacity of laboratories and the insufficient operationality of steering committees. Epidemiological surveillance should exclusively be the domain of Veterinary Services and it is crucial for ensuring that any change in the health status of an animal population is detected rapidly. However, the networks’ continuing survival after external financing ceases is generally not guaranteed because, in many cases, governments fail to fund them adequately.
Animal disease – Central Africa – Domestic animal – Epidemiological surveillance – Epidemiological surveillance network – Laboratory – Pan African Programme for the Control of Epizootics (PACE) – Veterinary Services – West Africa.