MASVINGO – The Veterinary Services Department last week held a four-day workshop in Masvingo to equip its officers with information to deal with the theileriosis disease commonly called January disease that has decimated cattle in the country.
The four-day workshop started on Monday and it was attended by 32 veterinary officers drawn from every district across the province.
The head of the training, Dr Reverend Moregood Spago told The Mirror that chief to the programme is to set up nationwide standards and procedures on dealing with the problem particularly standards of dipping.
The workshop also dealt with the problem of rabbis where the cost of vaccinating a dog is just $85 but the cost of treating a person bitten by an infected dog is more than US$120 or 48 000 bond.
Some of the key contents of the programme were centred on best dipping practices and immunisation strategies. On Day 1 the training dealt with the origins of theileriosis going on to Day 2 for discussions on preventive measures. On Day 3 participants were trained on clinical immunisation while Day 4 was reserved for the way forward.
Spago said the Vet Department has identified the main cause of cattle deaths as lack of proper dipping and the department is trying to end the disaster by ensuring consistent supply of vaccines and constant dipping.
Theileriosis outbreaks started in 2019 and since then whole herds have been decimated throughout the country leaving mainly communal farmers with zero stock in their cattle pens.
Spago said cattle that have perished due to the disease throughout the country so far are around 50 000, In Masvingo the total number of cattle lost to the disease is around 5 000.
“We are concerned with the loss of cattle. Cattle are a source of wealth for our country. We want to ensure a permanent solution that is why we are holding nationwide training workshops,” said Spago.
He said Government’s intervention has mainly been to launch the national tick borne disease control strategy which ensured farmers constantly dip their cattle.
The training workshops which will cover the whole country started in Mash West and moved to Midlands then Mat South before coming to Masvingo.