Kenya is planning to put in place a raft of measures to cushion livestock communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior government official said on Friday.
Peter Munya, cabinet secretary at Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives said the government will support the delivery of veterinary services to protect all animals and public health by heeding to the early warning signs for all zoonotic diseases like the COVID-19 that pose a potential encumbrance to the human population.
“The ministry is committed to exploring ways of cushioning the vulnerable agricultural sector, including the livestock communities, during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Munya said in a statement to mark the World Veterinary Day celebrations.
Kenya has so far confirmed 320 cases of COVID-19 since the first reported case on March 13.
Munya added that the livestock population in Kenya is concentrated in arid and semi-arid areas, which covers 80 percent of the country’s landmass. He observed that livestock accounts for 95 percent of the family income of pastoralists.
“However, these communities remain vulnerable due to emerging and re-emerging animal diseases and drought, limited access to insurance and credit facilities, lack of credible livestock identification and traceability systems among other issues,” he added.
Harry Kimutai, principal secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives said that the role of veterinarians in public health has become very important, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, as they continue to provide epidemiological back-up on the possible origin and the role of animals in coronavirus transmission.
He added that the government has put up a new biosafety laboratory to enhance the country’s veterinary diagnostic capacity to handle highly contagious disease-causing pathogens, including COVID-19 and anthrax. Enditem