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DRC: South Kivu launches large-scale vaccination

The province of Sud-Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo launches its mass vaccination campaign to protect its cattle and stimulate livestock farming.   -  
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Gaël Mpoyo

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Officials in South Kivu, Congo administer vaccinations to cattle and goats, marking the commencement of a crucial campaign. The aim: to shield livestock from symptomatic anthrax and small ruminant plague. Local breeders, eager to protect their herds, flock to participate in this vital initiative.

Bob van Romarique Katay, Communication Officer for PICAGL, underscores the significance of this endeavor, stating, "Breeders had long expressed the need to improve sanitary conditions in the region, as access to vaccines had become scarce. This project not only introduces new breeds, such as dairy cows, but also prioritizes the essential step of sanitary cleanup through comprehensive vaccination efforts."

In this initial phase, over 734,331 doses to combat small ruminant plague and 214,961 doses against symptomatic anthrax have been made available for the five territories covered by the Integrated Agricultural Growth Project in the Great Lakes (PICAGL). Following the official launch at the Bushi dairy, veterinary teams fan out to various locations, ensuring widespread coverage and accessibility for breeders.

Dr. Safi Ngomana, a veterinarian involved in the campaign, explains, "This vaccination drive offers multifaceted benefits. It not only safeguards small ruminants against diseases but also mitigates losses incurred during outbreaks. By engaging breeders and facilitating on-site vaccinations, we aim to fortify the health of livestock and foster resilience within the community."

Beyond disease prevention, the vaccination initiative holds broader implications. By reducing livestock mortality rates and bolstering the economic stability of households reliant on animal husbandry, it contributes to sustainable agricultural practices and livelihoods.

Xavier François, a local breeder, shares his perspective, "The vaccination of animals brings relief to us breeders, as much of the mortality we face stems from preventable diseases. Thanks to vaccination programs like those led by PCGL projects, we now have assurance regarding the health of our livestock."

This comprehensive campaign, offered free of charge, is slated to span approximately thirty days. Subsequent phases will introduce vaccines targeting contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, nodular dermatosis, brucellosis, foot-and-mouth disease, and rift valley fever among cattle in South Kivu.

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