Why were smallholders in Ethiopia still getting sick or dying from anthrax even though a vaccine was available for this disease of livestock? That was the problem LifeStock was asked to address in 2019.
For two months our team traveled in Ethiopia, interviewing medical and veterinary experts along with smallholders, to investigate what was going wrong and what might fix it. We did surveys at all levels from the farm up to the government officials overseeing animal and human health. We found there was little understanding of the disease until a community would actually experience anthrax.
There were many misconceptions about both the disease and the vaccine, with some farmers believing that the vaccine actually caused the disease. And most smallholders did not know that they could catch the disease from butchering the animals.
We discovered that the ongoing livestock vaccination campaign and training program were totally inadequate to stem anthrax infections. We instituted a training program for veterinarians across the country, producing literature in all the local languages, to help local veterinarians have a greater appreciation of various disease aspects, and to give them materials to help farmers understand how to prevent this disease in their families.
This project was funded by the CDC, as part of the Global Health Security Agenda, through the American Society for Microbiology.
Training for US Veterinarians
LifeStock is also very active in training US veterinarians for work overseas. We work with several organizations to help highly technically-trained American veterinarians understand key concepts when working in resource-poor environments. For more information on that program, please visit our lifestocklearning.org site.