Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), has procured 2.4 million doses of foot and mouth disease (FMD) vaccine for farmers in a bid to eradicate the livestock malady from the country.
FMD affects mostly cattle, goats, sheep and pigs among the domestic animals and it is estimated that there are about 37 million livestock in the country. FMD control is complicated and needs a lot of resources to control. However, despite the complexity, FMD is not yet rife in the country with the most prone livestock being that resident in the cattle corridor.
It is against this background that government has started FMD vaccination in 24 districts that include Gomba, Isingiro, Kalungu, Kampala, Kazo and Kiboga. Others are Kiruhura, Kiryandongo, Kyankwanzi, Kyotera Koboko, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Masindi, Mukono, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Rakai, Rubirizi, Sembabule, Ibanda and Serere.
According to Hon. Rwamirama K. Bright, the Minister of State for Animal Industry, access to the vaccine is through the District Veterinary Officers (DVO) and is free of charge to the farmers.
The strategy to control FMD also involves Chief Administrative Officers (CAO), who are providing necessary facilitation, fuel and allowances required for vaccination.
“The ministry employs strategic (Ring) vaccination to control FMD. The Ring vaccination strategy entails vaccinating herds surrounding the focal herd(s) (where the infection has occurred), and ending up vaccinating the focal herd(s). The focal herd(s) must be vaccinated with exception of clinically sick animals to avoid spread within the herd(s),” says Rwamirama.