Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
THE shortage of foot-and-mouth disease vaccines in the country is the major cause of outbreaks which may jeopardise the Government’s plan to boost livestock farming, an official has said.
In her 2018 report, Zimbabwe’s Auditor General Mrs Mildred Chiri said it is impossible to eradicate foot and mouth disease without deliberate efforts to provide the vaccines.
“There was a shortage of foot and mouth disease vaccines especially in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces. This resulted in outbreaks of the foot and mouth disease in Chipinge, Buhera, Makoni, Zaka, Bikita, Chivi, Gutu and Mudzi districts during the year under review,” said Mrs Chiri.
She said beacuse of shortage of vaccines, the Government’s efforts to promote livestock farming was being compromised.
Mrs Chiri said in many districts, cattle were not dipping which exposed the animals to tick- borne diseases.
“Dipping of livestock was not being carried out to prevent tick-borne diseases in some districts because Decatix SC, which the Division of Veterinary Services resolved to use as an alternative available dipping chemical, was not compatible with the existing dipping infrastructure,” said Mrs Chiri.
She said in order to use the new chemical, dip tanks have to be refurbished first and additional infrastructure such as water reservoirs and side tanks has to be constructed.
Mrs Chiri said in dry regions, boreholes had to be drilled to provide the water.
“Contrary to provisions of the Dairy Act [Chapter 18:08], the Dairy Service Units in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces were not carrying out inspections of milk parlors and testing the quality of milk.
“These units were not fully capacitated as they did not have vehicles, refrigerators, cooler boxes, universal bottles, apparatus and consumables such as respirators,” said Mrs Chiri.
She said the health and safety of the public may be compromised if they consume dairy products which are not tested and approved by the Dairy Services Unit. — @thamamoe.