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Kenya, Ethiopia conduct cross-border animal vaccination exercise

A team of veterinarians from Kenya and Ethiopia is conducting a cross-border vaccination exercise for livestock to prevent the outbreak and spread of contagious animal diseases.

The livestock, mostly cows, goats and sheep, are being vaccinated against foot and mouth disease (FMD) and Peste de Petits Ruminants (PPR) alongside deworming.

The vaccination was jointly sponsored by the World Bank, IGAD, National Government Marsabit, the County Government’s Regional Pastoral Livelihood Resilience Program (RPLRP).

Speaking to KNA, Marsabit County Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Stephen Mutahi said they are supporting the cross-border vaccination because herders were living in both countries with their herds.

“The issue of animal diseases is very critical to communities living along the common border. It is their livelihood and you will find farmers moving from one country to the other in search of pastures and water. You will find animals infecting other animals they encounter during migration and if not vaccinated it will be hard to eradicate the menace,” Dr Mutahi said.

Livestock vaccination started at Bokola village in Ethiopia situated a few kilometers from Moyale town in Ethiopia and then to Mansile village of Heilu ward which is on the Kenyan side. Veterinary doctors were accompanied by IGAD and RPLRP officials from the directorate of veterinary services from both Nairobi and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“The mass animal vaccination exercise will allow animals to graze freely between the two countries without suspicion of livestock infecting others from both countries. About 200, 000 animals are expected to be vaccinated in both states,” Dr Mutahi added.

The Director has however appealed to animal owners from both countries present their livestock for vaccination adding that wherever the animals are, and regardless of their country of origin, they will be vaccinated.

Mutahi said the exercise will run for the next two weeks and urged herders from the two neighboring countries to take full advantage of the rare opportunity to inoculate their livestock.

He said the government has formulated a ten-year control measure dubbed, RPPR Control and Eradication Strategy 2017-2027.

By Gatana Muchira

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