Ghanaian peacekeepers are providing hands-on support and training for cattle farmers across the Unity region to help them get through the rainy season and become self-sufficient in the long-term.
 
More than 5000 cattle have been treated as part of the veterinary outreach programme which began in March. The peacekeepers, who are serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), have directly treated many of the animals, including de-worming them and spraying for ticks.
 
The veterinary service has been particularly important because it exposed an outbreak of the viral disease, peste des petits ruminants, in goats as well as helped manage cases of pneumonia, acute vomiting and diarrhea and hair loss caused by mites which previously caused the deaths of thousands of livestock.
 
Charles Kuol, who owns 23 cattle, said many of his animals died during the previous rainy season because they did not receive treatment. He was impressed by the Ghanaian veterinary service which he credited with saving many of his stock.

The animals are treated free of charge which is of huge benefit to local communities who cannot afford to buy medicine in the local market because of skyrocketing costs.
 
Ghanaian peacekeeper and veterinary doctor, Captain Richard Osei Ampadu, said cattle were very important to the South Sudanese in terms of supporting individual household incomes as well as the economy more broadly.
 
“Treating their animals is the most important thing they need. We ask the owners what problem do they face and, with our experience, we know what is wrong with their animals,” he said.
 
Training is also provided by the peacekeepers so that cattle keepers can treat their own animals in future and become self-reliant.
 
The Director for Livestock and Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture in Bentiu, Stephen Gai Peter, said that the UNMISS-supported veterinary programme provided vital support for cattle keepers. The training was particularly welcome so that they could care for their own stock in future, he said.
 
The veterinary programme has been operating in Leer in Southern Unity as well as cattle camps in Bentiu town and Rubkona with plans to extend it to Abiemnhom, Mayom and Pariang when roads once again become accessible after the rainy season.

Source: Douglas T. Coffman