From: Footsteps 34

Different ways to improve and maintain animal health

by Naftally Felix Omondi.

Transmara Western Group (TMWG) in Kenya is a small team of researchers which has volunteered to promote sustainable development. Members encourage the use of traditional knowledge in agriculture to help relieve poverty. They work through extension training, research and by networking with NGOs in seminars and workshops.

One of the methods which they use with farmers and extension workers is the mapping of livestock diseases. Maps are drawn of the area and the natural features. Livestock diseases are then indicated on the map. This technique has many advantages. It is easy to use and flexible. It helps in planning how to treat livestock diseases in any area.

Method

Mapping at workshops

Workshops which bring together farmers and extension workers for a whole location provide an ideal opportunity of using mapping for livestock diseases. People first work in small groups, producing maps for their own area. These can then be compiled to produce a large map with information about livestock diseases for the whole location.

Once maps are finished, encourage discussion to draw out all possible information:

Information gathered must be carefully recorded and a copy made of all maps, using coloured pens to indicate the incidence of different diseases.

Results

Information about disease cases was collected over four years through mapping exercises carried out with the Kipsigis and Maasai community in Transmara district. In addition to the detailed information collected about disease patterns and incidence, the following points became clear:

From the information collected and the understanding gained from the above points, future planning can now be based upon sound information. TMWG plan to produce locally produced, low-cost remedies with the help of traditional healers.

Naftally Felix Omondi is a researcher with TMWG, PO Box 16, Kilgoris, Kenya.

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