Drug boxes for farmer groups
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CTA. 2003. Drug boxes for farmer groups. Rural Radio Resource Pack 03/03. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57473
A senior animal health advisor from Malawi describes a government programme to train and equip ?farmer technicians? to perform basic animal health care.
Cue: For livestock farmers, having access to good veterinary health care is extremely important. Obtaining the right drugs and treatment in good time can not only save the life of an individual animal, but may also stop a disease spreading through an entire herd or flock. Unfortunately, many countries do not have enough trained veterinary officers, particularly to serve remote rural communities. What can be done to address this problem? One solution being tried in Malawi, is to train farmers in basic animal health care. These farmer technicians are able to supplement the work already being done by veterinary officers and their assistants. Part of the programme has also involved supplying drug boxes to farmer groups, which the farmer technicians are taught how to use. But how effective is this programme? Can trained farmers really offer good veterinary health care to their farmer groups and communities? To find out more, Excello Zidana spoke to Richard Mgomezulu, a senior veterinary development officer involved in the programme. He began by asking how the drug boxes are being managed. IN: ?These drug boxes are in two ? OUT: ?reduce instances of diseases.? DUR?N 4?19? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Richard Mgomezulu with some advice for farmers on keeping their livestock disease-free. Transcript Mgomezulu These drug boxes are in two categories. Some of the drug boxes belong to the Assistant Veterinary Officers. The second category are drug boxes owned by farmer groups themselves. This was the initiative of the Basic Animal Health Services Project whereby we have farmer technicians who we call the ?key men?, manning these drug boxes, though some of the boxes still are being manned by the veterinary assistants but those are very few. Zidana It takes the government two years to train veterinary officers to be handling drugs and the issues pertaining to administering of those drugs. How do you make sure that these farmers who manage the drugs are able to do the same job? Mgomezulu Well there are some drugs that farmers can administer and still some of the drugs have to be always administered by the Assistant Veterinary Officers. More especially the injectable drugs, it is a must that they are administered by the Assistant Veterinary Officers. But simple health care is what is being taken care of by the farmer technicians or the key men. For example, administration of vaccine against Newcastle Disease, even the farmers themselves do administer the vaccine without a problem. But where injectable vaccine is concerned it is the responsibility of the Assistant Veterinary Officer. Some of the drugs that farmer technicians and key men are also able to administer comfortably are the de-wormers, especially those that are administered as a drench not as injectables. Zidana What mechanism is there to make sure that the drugs which are being sold by these key men, the drugs are not expired, things of that nature? Mgomezulu We encourage these farmer groups as much as possible to get the drugs that are far from the expiry date. But also we advise them that once they know that they have some drugs that are nearing expiry date they have to dispose of them. Zidana According to your evaluation are these drug boxes effective? Mgomezulu Yes I should say that these drug boxes are very effective, in the sense that we have seen the results. Disease instances have been reduced and we have even seen that livestock numbers, especially the goats as well as the chickens, the numbers are increasing. Zidana Now lastly how do you make sure that the livestock in the country are protected? I?m looking at the outbreaks like maybe Newcastle? Mgomezulu To ensure that we don?t have serious outbreaks of Newcastle Disease we advise farmers to follow the right vaccination schedules. In Malawi we have been using La Sota vaccine mostly and therefore we recommend that they vaccinate the chickens four times in a year. That is vaccinating after each and every three months. Zidana Not when they have seen that there is an outbreak of Newcastle around? Mgomezulu No, because the vaccine does not work in a chicken that has already Newcastle Disease. But also what I would advise them is to adopt improved husbandry practices. They have to adopt good feeding practices, good housing practices, preventive measures such as de-worming, those are very very important in order to reduce instances of diseases. End of track.