THE government has embarked on a countrywide fight against brucellosis and anthrax – animal diseases that also pose serious human health problems.
The brucellosis, which causes abortion to animals and humans, largely affects livestock keeping communities in the country.
Statistics from the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries show that the status and burden of brucellosis in the country is still alarming, with 58.1 per cent of agropastoral communities being plagued by the disease.
Responding to the problem, the ministry yesterday launched national strategies for prevention and control of brucellosis and anthrax in humans and animals.
This compliments the ongoing campaign to control diseases, including countrywide vaccination. Deputy Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Abdallah Hamisi Ulega said in Dar es Salaam that during this fiscal year the ministry would distribute 3.1 million doses of different vaccines to tackle 11 types of diseases.
Mr Ulega was speaking during a panel discussion on animal sourced food and its implication for public health and nutrition during which he also launched national strategies to prevent the diseases.
The strategies include advocacy, communication and social mobilisation.
A workshop, held at Muhimbili University of Allied Science (Muhas), was organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). It also focuses on facilitating and supporting application of bio-security and bio-safety infection control. Veterinary Services Director, Dr Hezron Nonga, said Tanzania had 32.2 million cattle, 20 million goats, 5.5 million sheep, 2 million pigs and 79.1 million chickens.
Dr Nonga noted that control and eradication of brucellosis in animals would also control and eradicate it from humans.
He said the ministry sensitised livestock keepers, carried out routine screening, culled all reactors as part of preventive measures.
Speaking on anthrax, he said the disease had also been reported in livestock, wildlife and humans. It is estimated that six anthrax outbreaks occur annually in Tanzania.
FAO Country Representative Fred Kafeero said for many years the organisation had been involved in strengthening national capacity for preventing and controlling animal diseases.
He said, among other areas, FAO had trained animal health experts from different regions in the country.