Counties unite to fight livestock diseases
- The challenges facing animal disease control include inadequate capacity for sustained disease surveillance and control programs as well as poor enforcement of existing laws.
- Some of the common animal diseases in the region include African swine fever, brucellosis, foot-and-mouth disease, peste des petits ruminants, sheep and goat pox, and rabies in cats and dogs.
- If left unchecked, economic blocs support, diseases could hamper animal production and hurt the income of farmers and ranchers.
For the thousands of pastoralists living on livestock in arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya, animal disease eradication remains the biggest headache.
The challenges facing animal disease control include inadequate capacity for sustained disease surveillance and control programs as well as poor enforcement of existing laws.
Now, as counties in the North Rift Economic Block (Noreb) and the Lake District Economic Block (LREB) continue to see more and more pastoralists become fully commercial in their businesses, they have unveiled a policy framework. common to eradicate diseases of livestock in the region.
The 2021 Notifiable and Transboundary Animal Disease Control Policy outlines how counties will collaborate in Transboundary Animal Disease Control (TAD), which was difficult given that each decentralized unit had read a different script after the decentralization of services. agricultural.
“Previously, these outbreaks were managed under a program coordinated by the director of veterinary services. After decentralization, veterinary functions were devolved to county governments, each county had different priorities, and animal disease management programs are carried out in an uncoordinated manner, even in neighboring counties, thus becoming ineffective, ”it reads. partly in politics.
“Prevention and control of TADs is a key factor in increasing market access and facilitating trade, especially for LREB and Noreb counties, which are important herders of sheep and goats, among others. animals. “
The North Rift Economic Block includes Uasin Gishu, Samburu, Baringo, Turkana, Nandi, West Pokot, Trans-Nzoia and Elgeyo-Marakwet, while the Lake District Economic Block includes Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, Trans Nzoia, Kericho, Bomet, Nandi and Vihiga.
The policy describes the limited public awareness of their obligation to report diseases, which compromises the effectiveness of disease control and prevention.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) also threatens the effectiveness, prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing number of infections caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses.
Some of the common animal diseases in the region include African swine fever, brucellosis, foot-and-mouth disease, peste des petits ruminants, sheep and goat pox, and rabies in cats and dogs.
Others are lumpy skin disease, anthrax, Rift Valley fever, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and Newcastle disease in poultry.
The presence of livestock diseases in these counties has resulted in decreased productivity due to increased mortality and morbidity resulting in losses including decreased milk and egg production, poor quality of food wool, slower weight gains or abortions.
If left unchecked, economic blocs support, diseases could hamper animal production and hurt the income of farmers and ranchers.
Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago said the policy would help the region ensure that no livestock markets are closed due to outbreaks.
“Livestock is an important sector in both economic blocs and contributes 30 percent of the regional gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for around 40 to 60 percent of direct or indirect jobs,” he said.
“The policy takes into account the constitutional obligations of each level of government, state and county with respect to animal health development and describes the functional relationships. “
The counties have developed policies such as strengthening the legal framework for disease control and the provision of animal health services in accordance with World Organization for Animal Health guidelines and legislation for veterinary services.
The two blocs also decided to establish an information system for disease control, claiming that timely and good quality information on disease events is needed to better assess any epidemic situation, support the taking of decision, prevent the potential incursion of the disease and react quickly in an emergency.
“LREB and Noreb counties are also interested in developing a regional electronic platform for information sharing and document exchange to improve disease intelligence and improve health decisions. data-based trade risk management, ”the policy says.
Animal registration, product identification and traceability will also be improved, as it is an essential tool in production planning, breeding and census, monitoring of diseases, food safety certification and food defense assurance, improving productivity and facilitating access to local and export products. markets.
Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos added that the blocs also agreed on joint funding to purchase animal vaccines, create a veterinary secretariat committee and adopt regional identification in the fight against cattle rustling. .
The blocs have also agreed to recruit more veterinarians in anticipation of any outbreaks and to upgrade their slaughterhouses internationally to ensure that the meat from these facilities meets global export standards.
They are also looking for common animal vaccination programs, as well as a harmonized supply for vaccines and other veterinary drugs.
Noreb chief executive Dominic Biwott observed that most counties in the region are struggling to carry out vaccinations due to financial constraints.
“In the North Rift region alone, decentralized units need 400-600 million shillings per year to vaccinate livestock against foot-and-mouth disease and east coast fever. We need to mobilize resources to contain the spread of the disease, ”said Dr Biwott.
The economic blocs also agreed to form a working group to facilitate a smoother transition in terms of agricultural policies when new county administrations take office, in order to avoid the erosion of the gains made during the previous period.
The blocs hope that the new policy, once operational, will increase the incomes of member countries while increasing sales of livestock and livestock products by focusing on reducing epidemics in the region.