Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (LSPCA) and Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security mass drug administration animal health intervention in three of floods disaster hit southern region districts namely; Balaka, Machinga and Zomba has helped to reduce the burden on farmers, raising hopes that they won’t lose their stock.
In January and February 2015, the country experienced an exceptionally heavy rainfall, exacerbated by cyclone Chedza. The result was destruction of villages especially those in low lying areas. Animals especially livestock and poultry were not spared from the devastation, especially in the South of the country. The rains left behind a huge number of animal health problems, including pneumonia, wounds, lumpy skin disease, mastitis and foot rot, caused by water-logged soil.
Animal health extension personnel in the affected districts together with LSPCA Project Coordinator, Jenda Kasambara, US based volunteers namely John Fiddler and Kathleen Egan offered animals the preferential treatment when diagnosed with wounds, considered lame, scoured and those that were emaciated. The mobile clinics also give priority to all forms of poultry especially for the deadly viral attacker Newcastle disease.
"The intervention was timely especially for areas that experienced floods and heavy rains. The type of drugs that were delivered by LSPCA were those in line with diseases that we expected to emerge after the flooding situation such as bacterial and protozoan," said Machinga Agriculture Development Division, Chief Animal Health and Livestock Officer, Taurayi Mlewa in an interview.
Mlewa however added that mobility was a problem as a result of some farmers being located in more remote areas of the three districts. He cited for instance distances that were close to the Phalombe border and areas close to Lake Chilwa as some of those that posed a challenge to administer the drugs.
The exercise has greatly contributed to improved animal health status that survived the torrential floods that swept crops including livestock injuring some in the process. The occasion also provided the platform for dissemination of information and communication messages on welfare and animal freedom to the small scale livestock farmers and the public at large in the affected areas under Machinga Agriculture Development Division says Kasambara who coordinated the activity in the districts.
As part of long term collaboration says Mlewa we intend to build this kind of partnerships with local nongovernmental organizations that are working in the field of animal welfare. As you will recall that these services are no longer being offered by government as they were long privatized.
This intervention is therefore greatly welcomed. You will note that it has covered three of our catchment districts except for Mangochi but we appreciate that the drugs will go a long way.