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Govt declares National Animal Health Emergency

Nov 14, 2012, 8:53 AM

The Government of the Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture has declared a National Animal Health Emergency in the country following the laboratory confirmation of an outbreak of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) in the country.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture Tuesday said the disease has the potential to cause the deaths of upwards of 200, 000 heads of cattle in The Gambia based on the 2011 Agricultural census estimated cattle population of 390,000 heads.

Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia is an infectious, highly contagious and one of the most important transboundary diseases of cattle. This disease is considered as the biggest threat to cattle production in sub-Saharan Africa on which so many people are dependent for their livelihood.

Noting that the CBPP will continue to spread throughout The Gambia and beyond unless control measures are taken, the Ministry of Agriculture said the monetary value of this loses is equivalent to nearly 2 billion dalasis.

According to the Ministry’s statement, the projection is that the impact on the national economy will be dramatic with a decline in production, scarcity of products, rising market prices and financial losses to the public and government.

It stated that in response to this emerging crisis, the Gambia government is mobilizing all available emergency funds for immediate action to contain and control the outbreak.

It called on the international community, development partners, NGOs and other stakeholders to assist in effectively addressing the situation to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the country and beyond.

“The Government is also taking immediate actions to enhance the capacity of veterinary services to put in place adequate measures for effective, sustainable and progressive control and eradication of the disease,” it added.

The Ministry also noted that as an immediate measure to prevent the rapid spread of the disease to other parts of the country, transhumance of cattle between the regions of the country is temporarily suspended until the completion of the first phase of the countrywide mass vaccination campaign, which is envisaged to start by 1st December 2012 and end 31st January 2013.

The resurgence of CBPP in The Gambia, the Ministry added, poses a serious threat to the entire national cattle herd, which could have disastrous consequences on food and nutrition security and peoples’ livelihood, and could have a significant negative impact on the national economy.