25 February 2013

Gambia: Vaccination Campaign Against Contagious Cattle Disease in Urr Launched

Basse — Health stakeholders have stepped up strategies through the launch of a massive vaccination campaign against the deadly cattle disease called Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) in the Upper River Region.

The campaign launched in Basse over the weekend under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is part of efforts to contain the disease that has the potential of wiping the nation's entire cattle population. The exercise will enable experts to vaccinate the cattle in the region, thus preventing further prevalence.

The team leader of the vaccination campaign, Sanjally Conteh, told the Daily Observer that the move is timely, given the threat the disease poses on the cattle population of the country.

"According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Crises Management Centre-Animal Health, the disease has the potential of causing the deaths of more than 50% of the cattle population in The Gambia - based on the 2011 Agriculture Census of the cattle population of the country which stands at (398, 472 heads); the monetary value of which is equivalent to nearly two billion Dalasis," he disclosed.

Conteh explained that CBPP is infectious, and highly contagious and it is one of the most deadly diseases of cattle in Sub-Saharan Africa, noting that it is also considered the most important trans-boundary animal disease in cattle.

The animal health expert further explained that CBPP affects the lungs and that it is characterised by difficulty in breathing.

He informed that the disease was first identified in the Central River Region area of Nyamina in August, 2012.

Conteh asserted that the launching indicates government's commitment in safeguarding the interest of farmers, in particular the livestock farmers in the country. The vaccination campaign, he stated, is being spearheaded by the government and the FAO, thus commending the two for the worthwhile intervention.

The principal veterinary officer in URR, Dr Ousman Jobe, also commended the government of the Gambia and FAO for funding the vaccination campaign. He urged cattle farmers to cooperate with the health officials during the vaccination period.

The governor of the region, Omar Khan, was also full of praises for the government and FAO for their intervention in containing the disease in the country.

He urged the local authorities to fully participate in the vaccination process and to give support to the team.

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