Thursday, May 19, 2022

Ngamiland FMD situation now under control

The Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) situation in most parts of Ngamiland has significantly improved, says deputy Director of Veterinary Services Dr Kefentse Motshegwa.

He said this at the last sitting of the Maun Administrative Authority (MAA) Sub council meeting on Thursday.

Dr. Motshegwa said the last outbreak in Zone 2D (Matsebe crush) was in September the previous year.

Meantime, his department is working on controlling the disease in the areas of Mohembo and Shakawe, both of which have recorded cases.

He said FMD has two patterns, the South African Territory Virus (SAT2) and the SAT1, which has been detected in Shakawe and surrounding areas, thus leading to continued animal movement restriction.

“We have other challenges which obstruct the control of the disease in the entire district. As we speak, the buffalo fence is submerged in water due to flooding which has caught up with us, and so its maintenances is improbable for now. There is also increased access of livestock in the delta, as well an increase in buffalo-livestock contact, leading to a high probability of disease transmission,” he said.

One of the challenges, he added is that they do not have sufficient manpower on the ground.

Also, they do not have enough campaign resources to help them carry through or travel the whole district.

“This is a sad reality that we found ourselves in. Because of flooding, most areas around here are not accessible by road, and so we have difficulty visiting them. Our vaccination coverage is also very low. Mind you, the last maintenance of disease control fences in Makgadikgadi was way back in 2008, and this is enough evidence that we are not winning,” he said.

Meanwhile, Makalamabedi South councilor, Moetetsi Mogalakwe, suggested that veterinary officials should be on their toes to ensure the disease is brought under control before it is too late.

He said currently the disease is believed to have spread to Xere settlement, which therefore means it might have further spread to Central District, which has been free all along.

In response to councillor Mogalakwe’s assertion, Dr Letshwenyo said his office has received reports that 37 animals in total have been seen crossing over to Xere.

Therefore, he had delegated some of his officers to go and work with farmers in that area. Because of their small numbers, he said they have decided that every farmer within reasonable distance of the buffalo fence should be registered with the department so that they help maintain the fence.

Such farmers, according to Dr Letshwenyo will be paid money equivalent to rates paid to laborers, which is P50/day.

Another suggestion from councilors was that though thin on the ground, veterinary officials should closely monitor all farmers tasked with maintaining the fence, as some of them might now take advantage of the compensation money and abuse the system.

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