ANIMAL HEALTH

Vets call for joint efforts to curbing diseases

Nonexistent borders between counties and lack of funding blamed for frequent outbreaks.

In Summary

•  Department of veterinary underfunded.

•  Counties yet to hire adequate staff.          

Kenya Veterinary Association women chapter chairperson Marylin Karani, Lorna Odero from the department of Veterinary, and Africa Veterinary and Technicians Association President Benson Ameda during a retreat in Naivasha on Thursday.
CONCERNS: Kenya Veterinary Association women chapter chairperson Marylin Karani, Lorna Odero from the department of Veterinary, and Africa Veterinary and Technicians Association President Benson Ameda during a retreat in Naivasha on Thursday.
Image: George Murage
Senior deputy director of veterinary services Mike Cheruiyot, Africa Veterinary and Technicians Association president Benson Ameda and Lorna Odero from the department of veterinary during a retreat in Naivasha on Thursday.
HEALTH CONCERNS: Senior deputy director of veterinary services Mike Cheruiyot, Africa Veterinary and Technicians Association president Benson Ameda and Lorna Odero from the department of veterinary during a retreat in Naivasha on Thursday.
Image: George Murage

The nonexistent borders between counties and lack of funding for the department of veterinary have been blamed for the frequent outbreaks of livestock diseases.

This has been worsened by porous borders around the Eastern and Central Africa region, leading to massive losses for pastoralists. Foot-and-mouth disease is the most rampant.

Africa Veterinary and Technicians Association president Benson Ameda on Thursday said time was ripe to revert all veterinary services to the national government for effective service delivery.

 

He said most services in the livestock industry could not be done by single counties alone owing to the huge resources needed.

“All services under the veterinary department should be taken back to the national government as its impossible for counties to work in isolation in addressing disease outbreaks,” Ameda said.

He spoke to the press during the opening of the Kenya Veterinary Association women chapter meeting at the Lake Naivasha Resort. The veterinary industry faces a myriad of challenges, key among them staffing. He said the problems have stalled many services in different regions.

He gave an example of government employees who are set to retire, yet counties who had the mandate to hire additional staff are not given the necessary funds.

“Most employees in this department are set to retire in the next four years and it will be practically impossible to carry out disease surveillance in the counties,” he said.

Similar sentiments were shared by the senior deputy director of veterinary services, Dr Mike Cheruiyot, who said there was a need for neighbouring countries to work together in curbing the spread of diseases.

Cheruiyot welcomed the move by counties to form blocs to fight animal diseases as one, adding that the strategy will help curtail the spread of the most common ailments.

 

“This is a commendable move where counties will jointly help in disease control, meaning farmers can enjoy services without spreading diseases from one area to another,” he said.

For her part, the Kenya Veterinary Association women chapter chairperson, Dr Marylin Karani, said they are focused on animal health as one way of preventing diseases.

“We will form an organisation bringing together all the IGAD member countries to work together to protect animals through prep-veterinary approach,” she said.

(Edited by F'Orieny)