Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a highly communicable viral disease of hooved animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs as well wild animals such as buffaloes. It has seven serological types O, A, C, Asia 1 and South African Territories (SAT) 1, 2 and 3.
Five of the seven types (O, A, C, SAT 1 & 2) are reported from time to time making the disease situation in the country to be termed as endemic (prevalent), unlike other places of the world where it has been eradicated.
The disease has a high morbidity (infection/spread) rate but low mortality (death). It is spread through direct contact with infected animals and materials such as fodder and vehicles; through breathing of infected aerosols; milk; semen and ingestion of meat from infected animals.
It is characterised by high fever, loss of appetite, salivation, limping, oral wounds and death in young animals. In endemic areas, biannual vaccination against the prevalent serotypes coupled with livestock movement control and enhancement of biosecurity measures can effectively control the disease.
Asked to describe foot and mouth disease (FMD) in their own words, farmers who were sampled in a last month’s survey in Nakuru noted that the disease is extremely dangerous; destructive; challenging to treat; kills in days and requires to be vaccinated against.
Some said it should be declared a national disaster and others called it ‘Ebola of cattle’.
The survey was conducted by the Nakuru Regional Veterinary Investigation Laboratory (RVIL) in collaboration with the county veterinary staff.
Its general objective was to determine the socio-economic impact of the outbreak that had affected 10 of the 11 sub-counties in Nakuru.
Of the outbreak, four of the seven common serotypes of the disease had been confirmed. These are Types O, A, SAT 1 & SAT 2.
Further, the disease that commonly affects cattle had also affected sheep, goats and pigs and there were unconfirmed cases of a dead donkey and an animal health service provider, who had developed some foot lesions after attending to some sick cows.
Interestingly, the disease usually occurs in the dry season of January to March when there is a lot of animal migration in search of water and pasture, but in this case, the disease occurred from July and up to the time of survey (October), it was still active.
Foot and mouth disease kills mostly young animals but in this case, some farmers reported high death rates in adult animals. Scientists expect results of the research will help the country deal with the disease.
Four farmers (household heads – HHH) were sampled in each of the 10 sub-counties in Nakuru that had confirmed the disease.
Two of the farmers had reported the disease since July and two had not. The survey targeted the small (1-10) and medium (11-100) dairy cattle farmers (household heads).
All (100 per cent) of female-headed households recorded the disease and was more prevalent where the farmer was aged between 36-60 years than in cases where they were youth (19-35) years or where they were over 60 years.
The active age of a person in Kenya is 36-60, that is between youth and retirement. Those involved in farming at this age could also be having other commitments, such as employment, business or bringing up a family, thus taking less interest in farm management.
They might forget to have their animals vaccinated or to take other necessary precautions such as having foot and wheel baths (disinfection sites at the farm’s entrance).
On the other hand, the youth (19-35) who take up farming are serious with it as they see it as a business. They are likely to take all disease control measures as well as management issues such as feeding and breeding seriously. Those over 60 are most likely retirees.
In the study, female-headed households recorded high prevalence of the disease and this is because, generally, women depend on their male partners for farm management. They may also lack collateral in the form of title deeds, thus cannot get farm development financial support.
The disease incidence was the highest where the farmer also engaged in white-collar employment, followed by households where the head was farming and also in business. The incidence was lowest where the head was solely and fully engaged in farming.
Generally, the other engagements limit the HHH concentration on farming, even though those engaged in business are more flexible than the employed staff, who have to get permission from a third party and hence higher disease prevalence on their farms.
The disease was reported by some households that owned sheep and goats but no farmer who owned beef cattle, donkeys or pigs reported it.
Farmers who kept farm records not only on vaccination but also other aspects such as production/sales, deaths/births plus diseases/treatments reported lower incidence of FMD than those who kept no records.
There was a higher incidence (77 per cent) of FMD where farmers practised zero-grazing than those who semi zero-grazed, did paddocking or free ranged.
A majority of the farmers (65 per cent) reported the disease outbreak to a private animal health service provider as opposed to a government veterinary staff.
Upon receiving the news, a majority (85 per cent) of the service providers (private and public) treated the animals. It was also noted that 15 per cent of the farmers whose animals had the disease had vaccinated them.
A man herds cattle in a field in Kisumu. Spread of foot and mouth disease is partly blamed on uncontrolled migration of livestock. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
According to the survey, a majority of the farmers whose animals were affected by the disease drenched them with local brew (busaa) as the treatment of choice.
Busaa is about 4 per cent alcohol, a concentration which is very mild as compared to surgical spirit, which is 70 per cent alcohol, so its medical value in killing the FMD virus is questionable.
The brew normally makes the animal drunk, thus reducing the pain in the foot and mouth wounds. The animal is therefore able to feed, thus boosting its immunity and recovery, but farmers should seek proper treatment.
HIGHER OCCURENCE OF THE DISEASE
A word of caution, however, is that the brew is stable for one to two days after production. Thereafter, acidification and denaturing take place, making the substance toxic.
Some farmers buy busaa that lasts for over five days, which implies that they could be poisoning the animals unintentionally and this explains the deaths that were occurring in adults, a rare condition as FMD is known to kill mostly young animals.
Epidemiological (disease spread) issues
Farmers who reported incidence of FMD predisposing factors such as bringing in new animals, fodder, visiting or being visited by another FMD active HHH, and or being visited by an animal health service provider a week before the outbreak reported higher incidence of the disease than those who had no such encounter.
A majority of the farmers did not have biosecurity measures such as foot and wheel baths. However, even those with the facilities who had a footbath still had the disease on the farm as the facility was minimally used due to the presence of many entrances to the animal house.
HHH that were near stock routes, slaughter premises and holding grounds, used communal facilities such as grazing areas and cattle dips had higher incidence of the disease.
Interestingly, farms that were near livestock markets were not more prone to FMD than those that were far. However, HHH who had some form of interaction with livestock markets, like buying fodder, animals or a visit by a livestock trader had higher occurrence of the disease.
Farmers who vaccinated their animals twice a year had lower chances of the disease than those who vaccinated annually, or only when there was an outbreak. This also applied for irregular vaccinations.
Social impacts of the disease reported by farmers
Self-imposed or peer-imposed quarantines; upsurge of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension; not taking animals to the dip; restricted exchange of animals for dowry or assisted grazing and restriction of animals to communal grazing grounds/watering, among others.
Economic impacts reported by farmers include reduced/loss of milk; buying milk; reduced income; loss of animals; treatment expenses; time taken to care for the sick animals; loss of body condition/animal price; restricted animal movement and trade.
Most of the issues that were found to have contributed to the disease are not new, but a few require special mention:
Zero-grazing farming system is a disease control tool for tick-borne diseases, worms and others but it is not good for FMD due to FMD transmission method.
The restricted animal movement in zero-grazing units prevents animals from being taken to communal vaccination centres.
This, coupled with the false impression that the disease cannot access animals in the zero-grazing units, makes them vulnerable.
It is, therefore, recommended that vaccinators and owners of zero-grazed animals must ensure that the animals are vaccinated routinely.
This outbreak occurred when there was enough feed and water, while those near stock routes, slaughter premises and holding grounds reported more incidents of the disease.
This implies that these facilities were the source of the disease, thus livestock movement control is key in stopping FMD.
A small portion of animals vaccinated against the disease were infected and four serotypes of the disease had been confirmed.
This means there is no cross-immunity against the serotypes and an animal vaccinated against one type can get infected with another type.
Vaccinating the animals against the four common serotypes is therefore important. Animals should be vaccinated every six months as vaccine potency declines with time.
The disease kills mostly the young stock but in this case, a number of adult deaths were reported. It is suspected that the said animals could have concurrently been infected with more than one serotype.
It is, therefore, important to enhance biosecurity when there is a disease on the farm to avoid reinfection by a different zerotype.
Most farmers reported the outbreak to private AHSP. However, FMD control is the prerogative of the county AHSP. This implies that the private AHSP should also be involved in the disease control strategies.
Most AHSP treated the animals and only one was reported to have taken a sample. It is important to take a sample whenever there is an FMD outbreak to identify the serotype. Further, the AHSP should enhance biosecurity when moving from one farm to another.
Women-headed households are vulnerable and should be given special attention during vaccination campaigns.
Magadi soda is known to kill or inactivate the virus and animals recover faster if wounds are treated with the agent than making them get drunk through the brew.
As unromantic as money may sound, it is impossible to avoid talking about it if you hope to be successful as a couple. Your marriage partner can either be the reason for your success or contribute to your failure.
Therefore, you need to ask the right questions before committing to marriage. Discuss everything, and talk about money as often as possible until you achieve a shared vision.
Here are five ways to get on the same page when it comes to your financial future. 1. Be transparent
Cultivate openness and transparency in your financial affairs. Know each other’s current incomes, expenses, debts and liabilities.
Come clean on your student loans, credit card debts, child or spousal support and what you send home for your parents or spend on your siblings.
Secrets not only put a couple at risk of not meeting their family goals, but threaten the survival of the marriage.
Set retirement goals. Prioritise and work on a joint budget and share responsibilities. Set money aside for shared objectives – such as education, buying land or investing in shares. 3. Don’t rush into setting up a joint account
You don’t have to combine finances immediately you say ‘I do’. Take the time to learn each other’s spending habits to avoid conflict down the line. To start off, you can maintain separate accounts and open a joint account with clear budget lines and agree on how both of you will contribute to the kitty and how the money will be managed.
To build trust, maintain accurate records, including for expenditure that doesn’t have receipts, such as buying vegetables from the estate Mama Mboga.
Operating a joint account should be a gradual process. If one partner is an impulsive spender or hides certain expenditure, it’s not advisable to operate a joint account as it will only lead to conflict.
4. Respect each other’s diversity
Do not micromanage each other. Everyone has things they do for themselves that make them happy and boost their self-esteem.
This could be a hobby, buying make-up or clothes, or membership in a club or society. Rather than belittling something your spouse considers important, figure out how to work it into the budget.
You can agree to set aside some cash that each of you can spend as you wish without having to account for it. 5. Hold money dates to nurture team work
Hold regular money dates to brainstorm, share ideas, discuss your goals and evaluate your financial standing. These meetings are important for a couple’s growth.
You’re either growing together or growing apart, so make a conscious effort to grow together. Joint planning is crucial whether both partners are earning an income or not.
Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.
By Wambui Waweru, LONDON, United Kingdom, 18 – The stage is set for robust engagement between Kenyan and UK business people during the forthcoming UK-Africa Investment Summit, the Kenyan High Commissioner to the UK Ambassador Manoah Esipisu has said.
Briefing the press in London ahead of the inaugural conference scheduled for January 20, Amb. Esipisu said Kenya is at the centre of the UK’s engagement with Africa.
“Three billion pounds worth of UK investment is in Kenya while most of our exports outside East Africa come here as well as to destinations such as the US,” Amb. Esipisu pointed out.
He added that the Kenyan diplomatic mission in the UK looks forward to welcoming the Kenyan delegation led by President Uhuru Kenyatta coming to the UK for the summit.
“We do expect robust engagement between Kenyan and UK business people about the areas in which investment is clear,” the High Commissioner assured.
Amb. Esipisu said that the summit will provide an opportunity for a robust discussion between the Governments of Kenya and the UK on areas of cooperation.
“As you know, Kenya has always trumpeted trade and investment, and we do expect that these are the areas that they will focus on for the prosperity of the people of Kenya as well as the prosperity of the people of the United Kingdom,” Amb Esipisu outlined.
Highlighting the investment opportunities in Kenya, Principal Secretary for Petroleum Andrew Kamau said Kenya will be looking to pursue mutually beneficial partnerships with UK investors in the production of sufficient renewable energy to support the implementation of Kenya’s Big 4 Agenda.
Former National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich is once again on the spotlight, after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) accused his team of using technicalities to conceal the true position of the country’s debt.
Falling short of accusing the Treasury mandarins of cooking numbers, IMF called out the Exchequer for blindfolding the public by using different debt-ceilings when calculating the sustainability of the country’s debt.
The muddling up of debt figures has left Kenyans confused on the true financial position of the country. This means that it is not possible to tell whether Kenya is able to meet all its debt obligations.
“While the 2015 Legal Notice sets a maximum debt level of 50 per cent of GDP in NPV (net present value) terms, budget documents instead assess debt to be sustainable — and therefore acceptable — if it is less than 70 per cent of GDP in NPV terms,” reads IMF’s fiscal transparency report released this week.
The law has since been changed, and the ceiling for public debt shifted from being pegged on the national output, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to a nominal ceiling of Sh9 trillion. IMF joins Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge in accusing former Treasury CS, together with his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge, of distorting revenue figures.
In a rare bare-knuckle attack on Rotich’s tenure, Njoroge described the Treasury’s budget-making process as “abracadabra”, where revenue numbers were randomly included in the budget books “from thin air”.
The Fiscal Transparency Evaluation Update lays bare the financial indiscipline at the Exchequer, which was overseen by Rotich and his Permanent Secretary Kamau Thugge, with the country’s debt surging to Sh6.2 trillion as at December 2019. Austerity measures
This comes at a time when the Treasury, led by new CS Ukur Yatanni, has aggressively moved to contain its spending in what is aimed at slashing further debt uptake.
Ministries and parastatals have been told that such things as tea, training and conferences will be reduced in far-reaching austerity measures that have also seen the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) aggressively go after tax cheats.
Kenya’s debt has spiraled to Sh6.2 trillion as at December 2019, and going by IMF’s remarks, the figure could be even higher.
In a new report, IMF has also blasted the Exchequer and the KRA for not making public the tax reliefs it has granted to some taxpayers.
The National Treasury CS has the discretion to grant tax exemptions, a process that the IMF now says has been shrouded in secrecy.
When reached for comment, one of KRA’s spokespersons said the issue of tax exemptions did not fall within the tax agency’s mandate. Instead, they directed us to the National Treasury.
National Treasury PS Julius Muia had not responded to our text message by the time of going to press. Tax expenditures
The IMF has also turned the spotlight on the country’s taxes, accusing the government of not publishing any regular reports that comprehensively discloses estimated revenue losses from tax expenditures.
This means that the public does not get to know how much the country has foregone in tax revenues through tax reliefs and exemptions.
“The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) produces a report on annual tax exemptions which is submitted to the Auditor General, but it is not published due to concerns over the reliability of the data,” reads the IMF report.
“Current reporting practices on tax arrears do not comply with the constitutional requirement to publish all tax waivers or the PFM Act’s requirement for publishing an annual report on these exemptions and concessions.”
The IMF capacity development mission came to Nairobi between August 6 and August 19, last year, at the request of the National Treasury. The mission also found out that there was no unit responsible for tax policy issues, either at the National Treasury or KRA. This crippled the performance of KRA, which has been missing its targets.
Already, the taxman has missed its half-year target by Sh88.3 billion, netting Sh857.8 billion.
“Capacity would need to be developed in the KRA and the National Treasury, which still has not created a unit responsible for tax policy issues,” says the report.
The IMF and other development partners had previously provided training on calculating tax expenditures, but most of the government officials involved have left, and the capacity in this area is now low.
Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.