The nationwide vaccination campaign for the Contagious Bovine Pleuro Phenumonia (CBPP) will kick-off this Saturday, officials of the Animal Health and Production Services have disclosed.
The officials made the disclosure Wednesday during the handing over of the vaccination items at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) office in Fajara. The procured cold chain equipment and veterinary drugs of the FAO for CBPP, worth D750,000, were recently handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture, following government's declaration of [the outbreak] of the CBPP disease last year.
The campaign is expected to begin at Niamina Dankunku in the Central River Region, the village where the first case of the disease was reported after a 41-year absence in the country. The items for the vaccination include 400,000 doses of vaccines, 10 freezers for the storage of the vaccines, 10 fridge freezers, 55 cool boxes and automatic syringes.
Presenting the items to the Gambia government, Dr. Babagana Ahmadu, the FAO country representative, described CBPP as the biggest threat to cattle production in sub-Saharan Africa.
He said: "Cattle production and by extension, livestock farming provide livelihood support for a great number of households and communities in The Gambia." He further stated that it is in this regard that the government of The Gambia in collaboration with the FAO Country office and partners are working to ensure that the disease is fully contained in the country to prevent its further spread.
The FAO country boss also noted that the disease would affect the livelihood of a good number of Gambians who depend on livestock production for their food security needs. "The project to contain the CBPP disease was officially launched by the minister of Agriculture on the 6th February 2013. During this launching ceremony, I informed the gathering that FAO has made significant progress to urgently finalise the procurement of vaccines and other logistical support for the smooth conduct of the national mass vaccination exercise," he further remarked.
The FAO boss also warned that if this deadly animal disease is not contained with urgency, it would run the risk of undermining the significant gains registered by the country in the area of agriculture and food security. While admitting that there are other items that are not available locally, he was quick to assure that these items would be made available soon. He finally assured that the FAO would continue to support the government in the fight against CBPP for its total eradication.
Receiving the items on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Alphu Marong, the permanent secretary No. 1 at the said Ministry, highlighted the significance of animal production, saying it is vital as it helps support crop production, and that all crop production are mainly carried out by the animal industry in the country.
He hailed both the FAO and the Animal Health and Production Services at the Department of Agriculture for their relentless efforts in making the campaign a possibility. He added that the fight against the killer cattle disease is part of sustained efforts towards poverty alleviation.
PS Marong finally assured that the Ministry of Agriculture is looking forward to commence the vaccination, while calling for massive sensitisation during the course of the vaccination campaign.
For his part, Dr. Kebba Daffeh, the national coordinator of the CBPP vaccination campaign, said the disease is the major killer disease among cattle. He noted that the disease has been absent in the country for the past 41 years and that, its resurgence in recent times has had some negative effects on animal production in the country. He used the opportunity to urge farmers to try as much as possible to ensure the vaccination of their animals during the campaign.