Prof. P. B. Spradbrow
Thanks for the comments.
Of course there are other infectious diseases affecting village poultry. The studies in which they become obvious are those that involve observations on flocks vaccinated against Newcastle disease. To a large extent these are over future flocks, not our current flocks. These are our future problems, not our current problems. Studies in vaccinated flocks, such as those of Anders Permin in Tanzania or of the GTZ group in Thailand show us that Newcastle disease will not be the last of our problems. Our present focus must be on the diseases that kill chickens, and that kill them in large numbers. If Newcastle disease is uncontrolled, other diseases are eclipsed. I expect that the next urgent problems will also be acute, fatal diseases. My guesses would be fowl cholera, infectious bursal disease, salmonellosis, fowl pox and leucocytozoonosis in some areas.
The other current pressing problem is the massive losses that occur during brooding. The causes have yet to be specified. One problem is that the dead chicks are not found or not examined. They go to the "lost" or "disappeared" columns on surveys, and we know that these columns are essential in collecting village poultry data. However when workers intervene with provision of creep feeding and shelter, these brooding losses are greatly reduced. This suggests that the brooding losses are associated with starvation, exposure and predation and could be controlled by improved husbandry. Villagers seem unwilling to make these changes while infectious disease will deprive them of their increased flock after brooding. Our current extension objectives target both Newcastle disease prevention (not only vaccination) and improved husbandry to reduce brooding losses.
The innovative extension methods that I mentioned derive from the enterprise of Dr. Robyn Alders in Mozambique. We must ask her to try to make a video of the vaccination play. The vaccination song has not been performed professionally in English although there was an informal premiere by an ad-hoc 40-voice choir at a recent meeting in Tune, Denmark. The English translation is attached. The recorded version is performed in Portuguese, Changana, Nyanja, Sena and Macua. This electronic Luddite was not aware that songs could be put on websites. A cassette is on its way to Rome (by conventional mail). All this superb technology in some fields, and we still have problems vaccinating village chickens!
On a recent visit to Vietnam I spoke with colleagues about a possible version of the vaccine play for a puppet theatre. This might be a culturally appropriate medium in some other Asian countries as well. Robyn Alders has suggested utilising the talking drums in western Africa. FAO at one time had a series of projection slides, I think for use in Bangladesh. Any other suggestions? Vaccination kites? Vaccination dances?
English translation of the vaccination song prepared by The Association of Mozambican Musicians:
The chickens Id bred have died from sickness
The ritual chicken is dead
The rough sheep* chicken is also dead
Even the one I borrowed from neighbours died.
What should I do?
In this hunger season?
What to do folks?
"Nooh. What ...... this is a bad omen to my ancestors."
"Whats wrong neighbour?"
"See my chickens are dying"
"How did they die?"
"Well, I dont know. But they start like getting cold. Then they look like
theyre wearing a coat and sleepy, then die."
"Thats a chicken disease called Newcastle"
"Pity me. Im in deep trouble. What should I do?"
"Go to Rural Extension. They will give you vaccine to apply in the eyes or in the
water they drink. They wont die any longer."
"I see. But I dont know the place."
"I will take you there"
"How kind. Lets go."
Lyrics by Hortencio Langa and Wizzie
Arranged by Wizzie Masuke in 3 idioms; Xangaan, Sena, Portuguese.
Translated by Ali Faki in Macua.
Music by Hortencio Langa.
* A term referring to chickens with the
frizzle feather gene.
The recorded version features vocalists
Hortencio Langa, Wizzie Masuke, Elidio Manica and Ali Faki and instrumentalists Hortencia
Langa, Celso Paco and Manuel de Jesus.