Further observations on the impact of a veterinary programme in Afghanistan on seasonal livestock mortality

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This paper reports further results of a two year livestock mortality survey in Afghanistan, where a war of more than a decade had completely disrupted the veterinary field services. A questionnaire-based survey to measure the impact of a veterinary field programme indicated that average annual mortality in cattle, sheep, and goats was substantially lower in districts that received veterinary services (covered districts) than in districts without any veterinary services (control districts). The impact of the programme varies according to the season and the age group of the animals involved. The programme lacked impact in winter, in particular in adult small ruminants. The highest impact was noted in the spring and autumn for adult goats, and summer and autumn for adult sheep.

The impact of the programme was also limited (in small ruminants even completely absent) during the suckling period in young animals. The highest impact was noted in the post-weaning period in small ruminants, when approximately four times more lambs and kids died in the control districts than in the covered districts.

It was concluded that the major impact of the veterinary programme was achieved when animals are in contact with other flocks during grazing seasons, when parasitic and infectious diseases are present and against which the veterinary programme is directed. Additional inputs - including extension activities - are therefore required to improve the effect of the programme in the winter and in the neonatal period.

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