8 February 2013

Gambia: The Government Urgently Needs to Commence Vaccination Thousands of Cattle Allegedly Dying Because of Bovine Pneumonia

The herders in the Niaminas cannot understand what is happening to their herds of cattle. Preliminary statistics reveal that over 30 percent of the cattle population in the area may have been lost numbering 1500 heads of cattle. The two Fulladu districts followed suit losing approximately 20 percent of the cattle population numbering 2000 heads of cattle.

It is not clear where the outbreak started. However; it is more severe in the Naminas and Fulladus. Outbreaks affecting few hundreds of heads of cattle are identified in Central River North, Upper River and North Bank Region.

The experts are of the opinion that the last severe outbreak of the illness occurred in 1971 which gave rise to nationwide vaccination campaign that lasted up to 1987.

Foroyaa's concern is the speed of the reaction to what is essentially a disaster. A National Animal Health Emergency has been declared and a Rapid Response Team established comprising representatives from 10 institutions.

Finance is the key to the initiation of an effective nationwide vaccination campaign. Foroyaa has learned that 24 Million dalasi should do the job. UN Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) has provided 14 Million dalasi. At the moment, there is a funding gap of D10 Million. The Government has allocated 34 Million dalasi or 1 Million dollars to assist the troops destined to protect the territorial integrity of Mali. It is therefore urgent for government to get the money to provide the ten Million dalasi needed to save the cattle population. Speedy action is necessary. The media houses that are invited to meet the president at the airport should quiz the President on the National Animal Health Emergency and the way forward.

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