Malawi finally gets vaccines for foot-and-mouth disease

Malawi government has finally procured viral vaccines to treat foot and mouth disease that has hit the lower shire particularly Chikhwawa district.

The outbreak was reported in the area late September this year and put lives of over 70,000 cattle are at great risk of contracting the disease.

Principal Secretary for Agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Erica Maganga confirmed Thursday saying government imported 70 000 viral vaccines which have already started been administering on the cattle.

“We have managed to import 70 000 viral vaccines from Botswana and our veterinary officers are on the ground vaccinating the cattle has already started in the Shire valley. We expect to be through with the
vaccination in the next two weeks,” she said.

She however said the development does not mean that the ban government effected on movement of cattle and its product from the area to other areas has not been lifted.

“After the vaccination we will have to monitor the situation for some more weeks first and see if there is another outbreak, if the situation normalizes we will thereafter decide to lift the ban,” explained Maganga.

She added: “We would not encourage farmers and indeed any person to start moving the cattle now because this disease is dangerous and we don’t want it to spread to other areas.”

The disease has spread widely mainly around N’gabu area in Chikhwawa district due to the delay of the vaccine which is reported to have been procured early last month.

Reports confirmed that the disease has mainly hit Butiza, Magalasi, Chipomoka, Machilika and Masanduko villages which are under Ng’abu Agricultural Development Division (ADD).

Since government effected the ban, there has been a clear drop in milk and meat production in most parts of southern region as Shire valley is the main source of the products.

Recently, acting Director of Veterinary Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development told the media foot and mouth disease is also called trade sensitive disease and most
countries do not import anything from an area that is affected by diasese.

Ordinarily, veterinary officers are supposed to vaccinate livestock after every six months but this is not the case in Malawi due to lack of the viral vaccines.

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