The Kenya Smart Climate Agriculture (KCSAP) through the Kenya government and World Bank is carrying out mass vaccination against the lethal cattle disease East Coast Fever (ECF) in Siyoi ward, Kapenguria constituency in West Pokot County.
The West Pokot KCSAP Coordination Philip Ting’aa said the exercise targets about 8000 cattle at the villages of Kapchilla, Paraywa, Siyoi, Kaibos, Kapkatet, Kipkorinya, Chepkoti, Kapsurum and Talau within Siyoi Ward in Kapenguria Constituency.
He noted the vaccination exercise is to cost Sh10.4 million and the same has been funded by the national government through World Bank as the immediate donor while the West Pokot County government contributing 20 percent of the total cost.
Ting’aa explained that ECF is a tick-borne disease that was first discovered in 1903 in Africa and that it kills cattle after three to four weeks of infection.
“The disease has a devastating impact on the dairy farmers. The lethal ECF disease is transmitted from one animal to another by infected brown ear ticks endemic across a dozen Africa countries,” he further explained.
Ting’aa said the idea to vaccinate the cattle against ECF was born through participatory mobilization of all dairy farmers which was held in 2018 where farmers pointed out challenges which hindered high production of milk to be the effects of animal disease particularly East Coast Fever.
“The farmers pointed out the most prevalent challenge that was impeding high milk production was high prevalence disease and particularly East Coast Fever disease,” he addressed.
Since then, Ting’aa further said, they embarked into a series of activities which involved writing proposals to the county livestock health steering committee which approved the project and date of vaccination exercise.
“We are happy the vaccination exercise against ECF is turning out to be successful and since it gives the cattle a lifetime immunity, farmers who usually spend over Sh. 4000 for treatment when animal falls sick have a reprieve. Thus the exercise benefits the farmer economically,” he expressed.
However, Ting’aa said with milk production in the region expected to rise because animals would not be attacked by ECF disease the farmers should cooperate with veterinary doctors so that they conclude the activity successfully.
Nicholas Rotich a farmer from Talau village in Siyoi ward said he has for many years struggled to keep the ECF disease at bay and was joyful when his cattle were vaccinated noting how expensive it is to treat a sick animal.
“I am very happy because I have vaccinated my cattle against ECF disease. Treating the sick animal is very expensive and this vaccination exercise really benefits me since it cuts down the cost for treating animals,” a joyous Rotich said.
In the same region, the national government through the Ministry of Agriculture is vaccinating cattle against the Black quarter fever and Anthrax disease which kills cattle at Lelan ward and Tapach ward in Pokot South Constituency.
The vaccination exercise in Lelan ward covers 13 villages of Cheparten, Kapsangar, Kaptabuk, Meshau, Mokoyon, Chepkono, Simotwo, Tonoyon, Chesupet, Kabichbich, Kapkanyar, Kapsait and Mbayai and in Tapach ward they are vaccinating in villages of Chebon, Nyarpat, Kale, Nyarkulian, Sina, Tnagasia, Kamelei, Kokwopsis and Tapach village.
The vaccination targets to vaccinate 50,000 cattle against the Black quarter and Anthrax diseases in the affected villages within West Pokot County.
West Pokot Sub County Livestock officer Dr Charles Kibet said the vaccination drive is one the foremost commitment by the government to prevent and control outbreak of animal diseases.
Dr Kibet urged the farmers to be responsible for the welfare of their animals by ensuring they provide adequate hygiene for animals, being alert to symptoms of disease, vaccinate their animals if possible, seeking medical attention and reporting whenever there was an outbreak of animal diseases to relevant government authorities for assistance.
By Anthony Melly and Robert Kiprop