(ERGO) – Somalia’s South West state livestock ministry has recorded the deaths of 3,000 livestock from diseases in El Barde, Yeed, and Rabdhure districts of Bakool region. These districts lie along Somalia’s borders with Ethiopia and Kenya. The areas have been experiencing an influx of jilal-affected pastoralists from Gedo, Ethiopia and Kenya, seeking water and pasture for their livestock.
Radio Ergo’s local correspondent, Mohamoud Abdirashid, interviewed El Barde district coordinator of the ministry, Sulub Ali, on the cause of the diseases and what is being done to prevent further livestock deaths.
Sulub Ali: The people in these districts are all pastoralists. They are surrounded by borders that are not controlled. Pastoralists cross over freely with their animals, even the disease-infected ones. This has resulted in the spread of livestock diseases such as those that need vaccination as well as those that need to be treated in the last three months.
In April 2021, we vaccinated the livestock in these areas against CPP. However, there are other diseases such as babesiosis caused by ticks, haemorrhagic septicaemia (HS) and blackleg, which have greatly affected the livestock in the three districts in the past three months, but have not yet been vaccinated against.
So, there is a high need for livestock vaccination and treatment in these districts before the Gu’ rains start, as the rains will risk further spread of the diseases.
Radio Ergo: Are these diseases seasonal, occurring only during the (dry) jilal season?
Sulub Ali: Most of these diseases were already there, but during the dry seasons, pastoralists move with their livestock from one area to another. For example, some of the pastoralists come with their livestock from Beledweyne, others come from Ethiopia, Kenya and Gedo. These movements have contributed to the spread of the diseases. The other contributing factor is the drop in the animals’ immunity caused by the lack of pasture and water, meaning they have low resistance to diseases.
There has also been a gap in livestock vaccination campaign drives in these districts. The last major vaccination campaign was conducted three years ago. It is paramount to conduct vaccination drives in these districts because it is a strategic place for pastoralists who cross from Ethiopia, Kenya and Gedo region.
Radio Ergo: Were the diseases that killed the livestock in the past three months contagious diseases?
Sulub Ali: These diseases are communicable and can spread from one animal to another. However, there are also those that spread through insect bites such as ticks.
Radio Ergo: As a ministry, what are you doing to prevent further livestock deaths?
Sulub Ali: We are raising awareness among the pastoralists and we ask them to report any symptoms of these diseases to our offices so that we can compile and share the data with the heads of the ministry for help.
We haven’t conducted many trainings for the pastoralists, but we informed them to quarantine the livestock that display symptoms of these diseases from the others, and not to graze or drink water from the same spot so as to limit the spread of these diseases.