PPR Vaccination Campaign Begins in Urr
The vaccination campaign started over the weekend in the Upper River Region (URR), against Peste des Petites Ruminant, (PPR), an endemic disease in The Gambia that affects small ruminants such as sheep and goats.
The European Food Facility Programme (EFFP) at the African Union International Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IABAR), is funding the campaign in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, through a project called Vaccines for the Control of Neglected Disease in Africa, (VACNADA). It is expected to last for a month, and the vaccination is free of charge for all livestock owners in The Gambia.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Alhaji Omar Khan, governor of URR, said that government is committed to the empowerment of farmers in the country. He called on all livestock owners to come forward and get their animals vaccinated so as to avoid endangering their lives. He further called on them to reject the notion that they will loose their animals after they are injected. "Listen carefully to the advice of the people in charge when they meet you in your homes so that you can save the lives of your animals," Khan appealed to livestock farmers.
Mbemba Dahaba, regional agricultural director, described the small ruminants in our societies as very vital because they generate income for their owners. He added that the government of The Gambia deserved to be commended for this bold initiative, since it will boost the economy of livestock owners.
For his part, Abdou Ceesay, regional veterinary officer in URR, said that the government has for a long time been fighting against this disease because it is not easy to cure it and confirmed that vaccination is the best way to fight it.
He disclosed that it is sometimes difficult to fight the disease in animals because of its complication to recognize it. He therefore called on livestock owners to come to their village bantabas once the vaccination team arrives in their various villages for vaccination. Alagie Saho, president of the Livestock Farmers Association in URR, disclosed that he lost 150 sheep last year because of the disease and appealed to the government for the initiative to be continuous.
Alasana Manneh, alkalo of Basse Manneh Kunda, also outlined the importance of ruminants in their communities and commended government for its support to the farmers.