The veterinary services directorate in Turkana County is on high alert to curb spread and control of livestock diseases following the migration of large herds of livestock from Uganda, County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun has said.
The huge influx of livestock, CECM Aemun said would lead to increased interaction and cross-contamination between treated and untreated herds of livestock that poses a high risk of flaring up of diseases. He regretted that past cases of outbreaks of livestock diseases led to a huge socio-economic loss to the pastoralist communities.
The County executive spoke when he launched the Emergency livestock-based livelihoods assistance for flood-affected Households in Turkana County. He said that the Pastoral Economy department was committed to seeing that the Program is fully materialized to assist the targeted beneficiaries. To safeguard human and animal health, the County executive said that the Pastoral Economy department would strengthen the E-surveillance system that is being used in the tracking of livestock diseases in the region. He said that the surveillance will inform response, vaccination, supportive treatment and vector control.
The objective of the three months programme that will cover Turkana North, Loima and Turkana South sub-counties is to increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crisis on the affected households in the County. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) funded program will be implemented by VSF-Germany with technical support from County departments of Veterinary Services and Public Health.
CECM Aemun said that the recent heavy rains experienced has necessitated vigilance on Rift Valley Fever diseases which is zoonotic. He assured that the ministry was on high alert and will focus on creating awareness to kraals regarding the disease. He assured partners of the ministry readiness to coordinate with them to strengthen human and livestock health through the One Health program that is jointly conducted by the County departments of Pastoral Economy and Health.
The targeted mass treatment of livestock will cover 85,000 sheep & goats and 6,628(camels, donkeys and cattle) benefiting 4,650 households. 386 households will receive mosquito nets.
County Chief Officer for Fisheries, Livestock production and Veterinary Abdullahi Yusuf said that his department will continue partnering with stakeholders to enhance maximum livestock production and productivity in the region. County Director of veterinary services Benson Longor said that the directorate through the Program would create Public awareness to herders on prevention, control and management of Rift Valley Fever through access to Emergency Livestock Inputs like veterinary drugs, equipment and mosquito nets. Disaster Management Deputy Director Moses Nawoton said that flash floods are a threat to livelihoods, noting that the recent effects of heavy rains in the region were devastating.
Representatives from the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and VSF-Germany also attended the launch of the Program in Lodwar.