Adventures of Neddy: A community animal health worker helps a village manage Newcastle disease

| December 7, 2020

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Our Farmer story from Burkina Faso talks about the benefits of keeping chickens, and how vaccination is a key practices for maintaining good health. Our Script of the week also focuses on vaccinating chickens. 

Chickens are a type of livestock that are very easy to keep because they can feed by grazing freely on foods that are readily available. In other words, they are free range. Also, chickens reproduce easily. But they are susceptible to a major disease which has no cure: Newcastle disease. Though it does not have a cure, there is a vaccine for the disease. Farmers fail to regularly vaccinate their chickens because of lack of knowledge or because the vaccine is expensive. Often, the drug is sold in large bottles which can treat several hundred chickens. This is very expensive for farmers who have only a few chickens. And that is why community vaccination for chickens by community animal health workers is a great idea.

In many areas, there is a shortage of veterinary doctors. Paraveterarians, also called community animal health workers or veterinary volunteers, help to provide services where there is no veterinarian. They are volunteers who do not receive any salary, but earn a living by charging small labour fees for their services. They are trained to diagnose and treat many livestock diseases, and to refer other diseases to veterinarians. Farmers often buy livestock medicines and provide transport for the community animal health worker to and from their farm.

In this script, the community animal health worker tells the villagers that the vaccine for Newcastle disease is available only in doses for large numbers of chickens, such as 300 or more. In some African countries, vaccines with smaller numbers of doses can be purchased. Also, in some African countries such as Zambia, Mozambique and Ghana, vaccines are available which do not have to be kept in the freezer. Research the situation in your country.

This script is a mini-drama which highlights the need to vaccinate chickens against Newcastle disease and the benefits of having a community animal health worker in your community. Two ways to use this script are by simply adapting this drama for your audience or using it as inspiration to produce your own mini-drama or other program on livestock diseases in your area.

This script is available in English, French, Swahili, and Hausa.