The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, The Government of the Republic of the Gambia, through the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the FAO Country Office, officially launched an animal health mass vaccination of cattle against the Contagious Bovine Pluero Pneumonia (CBPP), in Niamina Dankunku, in the Central River Region (CRR) on Saturday, 23rd February 2013.
The Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Kabba Daffeh, in his opening remarks, welcomed the Deputy Governor, CRR, Malang Saibo Camara, FAO Country representative Dr. Babagana Amadou, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Sheriff Bojang, Director General of the Gambia Livestock Marketing Agency, Dr Demba Jallow and other members who graced the occasion.
Dr. Daffeh informs that over forty-one years there have not been this type of sickness of animals in the country, and the project is there to vaccinate all the infected cattle. He said FAO has brought the vaccination for the cattle injection; that all the cattle owners should come out with their cattle. However he said they are warning the people not to eat meat that has been subjected to injection, that the Gambian people beware that there could be other sicknesses different from the CBPP, and they are not giving a guarantee to people to consume any animal that is sick. Dr. Daffeh then took this opportunity to thank FAO for their kind support.
FAO Country Representative in the Gambia, Dr. Babagana Amadou, added that it was in CRR that one of the first villages reported the outbreak of these diseases. He said that's why they made all their effort to attend the ceremony. He said the farmers should observe the movements of their cattle before they miss out any cattle. He said the vaccination started in CRR, that they have vaccinated two herds of cattle before a given period. He said the Alkalo has been very cooperative and has informed them of the perspective of this village; that the village lost about fifty herds of cattle. "So you see how devastating this disease is in this village", said Dr Babagana. He then said let them look forward and make sure that by two week's time all the three thousand head of cattle are vaccinated in the country. Dr. Babagana promised that the vaccination would now be done annually for the next five year to eradicate this disease in the Gambia.
The Representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sheriff Bojang, the Permanent Secretary of Agriculture, noted that FAO supported them financially and bought drugs to prevent the sickness of the cattle. Dr. Bojang added that they would check the cattle and any cattle that is sick would be taken out; that all the sick ones would be bought so that the owners can be compensated and the sickness eradicated.
The Deputy Governor of CRR, added that the farmers have not said how many cattle they have, but by right they should give the number of cattle they have. He said they cannot give drugs to the whole nation without knowing how many cattle are affected in country. He said if he was to inject thousand cattle without knowing whether it is more or less, and vaccinated the ones that are in danger only, the disease would still be on the others and it will later transfer to them. He said that the farmers have to give the number of cattle so that the work can be easily done in the country. He said FAO are doing their best to help them. He advised them to kill the cattle so that they help is given to the sick ones. He then thanked FAO for their support.
Vaccination team leader, Dr Abdoulie Manjang, also noted that he is appealing to all the cattle owners that they should have understanding that they have to go all over the country to vaccinate the cattle. He said they would call them and inform them if they are coming and they should make sure that their cattle are vaccinated.
Alkalo of Niamina Sambang Wollof and Dankunku, Mr. Alagi Babu Mbye, expressed his happiness for coming to their village to help them drive this sickness away. He expressed hope that the sickness that has been disturbing them is about to end. He said this sickness killed about forty of his cattle "I just use to see my cattle lying down and the next minute, I see it dead. This sickness has tormented me a lot but thank god that you guys are finally fighting to eradicate it", Said Mr. Mbye, Alkalo a cattle owner.