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FAO protects South Sudanese goats from disease in Eastern Equatoria
On 15 May 2014 over 200 goats were vaccinated against PPR (Peste des Petit Ruminants) in Torit town, Eastern Equatoria state. The PPR vaccines are included in FAO’s emergency livestock distribution kits which are being provided to vulnerable conflict-affected herders in response to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan which has left many in desperate need of support.
Each kit FAO distributes has the capacity to assist 80 households in the protection of livestock from diseases for between 4 and 6 months. This contributes to ensuring food security and nutrition in a country suffering from catastrophic levels of food insecurity. Around 4 000 kits are being distributed with current allocated funding.
The emergency livestock kits are being distributed country-wide, in addition to FAO’s other emergency livelihood kits that include vegetable, crop and fishing kits. In total FAO is targeting some 1.3 million people with currently allocated funds.
There are an estimated 10 million goats in South Sudan, most of which are susceptible to the PPR plague which carries a 90% mortality rate when it enters a non-vaccinated herd. Livestock, especially goats are one of few assets that people can bring with them and exchange for cash or grain in times of high insecurity and displacement, as has been experienced in South Sudan since the outbreak of conflict in December last year. On average, one healthy goat can provide a household with a minimum of one half a liter of milk per day.
In addition to the vaccines, FAO supported the establishment of the only cold chain supply room in Eastern Equatoria state. The cold chain supply rooms are crucial for proper storage and distribution of temperature-sensitive livestock vaccines. The Director for Veterinary Services and Livestock Development in Eastern Equatoria’s Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Quinto Asaye Alex noted the importance of the cold chain room in Torit and expressed the need to establish cold chains at the county levels in the state.
Dr. Alex has high ambitions to end PPR in goats throughout Eastern Equatoria state, “If 75 percent of goats in the counties of Eastern Equatoria are reached with the vaccine, there is a high probability that the virus will die off,” he stated.
Vaccination campaigns are ongoing nation-wide. Traditionally the vaccine has been administered only by men, but in Torit women have been trained as Community-Based Animal Health Workers to administer the vaccinations, a pronounced effort to move towards the control of PPR and improve livelihoods in South Sudan.