The collapse of cattle dips in rural Kenya is to blame for a spike in fatal diseases affecting the country’s livestock, experts said on Monday.
The experts regretted that collapse of cattle dips in many parts of the country has contributed to the spread of anthrax, lamp disease, foot and mouth diseases and the Rift Valley Fever, which are mainly spread by vectors like ticks.
“Cattle dips need to be re-introduced in the country to help save farmers from losing livestock to vector-borne diseases,” said Ochieng Odede, a Technical Director at Sidai Tunza Mzigo Yako, a social enterprise that serves Kenyan herders.
He noted that the interaction between wildlife, especially the wildebeest and buffaloes is to blame for the spread of vector-borne diseases affecting livestock.
Odede blamed under-investments in extension services for the collapse of the cattle dips that were once vibrant in post-independent Kenya.
He said despite private sector investments in extension services, the government had an obligation to employ additional personnel to ensure keepers spray their cattle against ticks.
“The government needs to reconsider adopting a national vaccination calendar like is the case in Namibia to help save livestock from dying,” said Odede.
He called for the availability of effective vaccines, establishment of cold storage with solar backup to enhance their safety and efficacy.
Kenya retrenched extension workers in the late 80s following the introduction of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) by Bretton Woods Institutions.
The Kenya team leader of Veterinaries Sans Frontiers (VSF) Kennedy Lumadede called for the re-introduction of genuine livestock drugs in the eastern Africa region.
“This region has lots of counterfeit and fake drugs that have been killing livestock instead of curing them from diseases,” said Lumadede.
He noted that in the absence of genuine drugs, farmers were misusing pesticides that are not meant for the treatment of the livestock.
The Meru National Park Veterinary Officer Bernard Rono revealed that climate change and vector borne diseases that thrive in the park are to blame for a recent spike in the death of wildlife.
He noted that the delay in rains that leaves the park without green grass is mainly affecting elephants and cheetahs since they require bigger rangeland to operate.
Foot and Mouth Diseases, Anthrax, Rift Valley Fever, Lamp Diseases are the main diseases affecting livestock in Kenya. Enditem