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EU-backed livestock vaccination program kicks off in Kenya

12 September 2014, 12:19

Nairobi - A European Union-backed livestock vaccination program against diseases that are reportedly on the rise in drought-hit parts of Kenya kicked off in ten counties across the east African nation.

Dominique Davoux, visiting EU's Head of Agricultural Development, said the vaccinations are going ahead as part of a multipronged contingency strategy managed by the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) to stem the effects of the ongoing drought.

"Early action, like the vaccinations that we are funding today, is vital to helping livestock herders cope with this current dry period," Davoux said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The move comes as about 150,000 cattle and 400,000 goats in Baringo County were on Thursday vaccinated against diseases that are reportedly on the rise in drought-hit parts of the country, threatening the livelihoods of northern pastoralists.

Under the ongoing vaccination program that is targeting ten counties, 300,000 cows will be vaccinated against Foot and Mouth Disease and more than 1.5 million goats against Contagious Caprine Plueropneumonia (CCPP). The EU said its bulk of the funding has gone to saving livestock as well as keeping water sources operational. During periods of low rainfall, diseases such as Foot and Mouth can spread like wildfire as large numbers of livestock converge on reduced number of watering holes, grazing lands, and migration corridors.

Erik Habers, Head of Development at the European Union, emphasized the importance of delivering early support in the form of water, vet services, markets and animal feeds to prevent the worst impacts of drought.

The EU provided 6.5 million U.S. dollars of funding to the NDMA's emergency drought fund in June. To date, 2.8 million dollars has been spent on a range of early response activities across ten counties in Kenya.

Also read: Livestock thief jailed for 7 years
"The EU is ready to step-up its funding if the drought continues into next year, which is possible. We have more than 5.7 million dollars ready if the need arises and so long as reporting criteria are met for the money we have already provided," Habers said.

 - Xinhua

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