In Salavan, one of the objectives of the SFE is to improve the nutrition of the population in ten target villages. As part of the health education project, Vanh, an agricultural advisor, and Vandala, an agricultural technician, offer villagers various activities: cultivation and maintenance of a vegetable garden, orchard planting, fish farming, fungiculture, but also livestock breeding and care.
Cattle is an important source of protein, but in Laos, it also represents savings. In case of financial need (health problems, marriage, investment), people sell their buffaloes, cows, goats or pigs. Therefore, it is essential to protect this source of both food and income.
Due to several misconceptions, few villagers vaccinate their livestock: the cost of vaccination is too high, there is a danger that pregnant females will lose their young, risk of side effects and death of the animals… This lack of knowledge leads to the loss of a large number of animals each year due to predictable diseases.
Faced with this tragedy, the SFE proposed to experiment a livestock vaccination campaign.
In collaboration with the Salavan Province Department of Agriculture and the coordinators of the two districts where we work, our teams first trained two volunteer veterinarians per village. During a three-day training course, these villagers learned how to vaccinate, and how to diagnose and treat diseases.
For the next nine weeks, the SFE’s agricultural team, alongside provincial agricultural coordinators and managers, spent time in each village with the vets in the making. The aim was to give villagers the opportunity to have their animals vaccinated while continuing the practical training of the volunteers.
In three three-week sessions, 118 buffaloes, 296 cows, 26 goats, 10 pigs and 39 poultry have been vaccinated against 5 diseases.
The campaign was a success. Indeed, it made it possible to deconstruct the prejudices on vaccination because no animal died or lost its young. Unfortunately, after the campaign began, some unvaccinated animals fell ill, but the villagers were able to see how effective the vaccines were in protecting their livestock. Many villagers are already interested in participating in the next campaign.
For the SFE, this activity is particularly encouraging. The results were visible quickly, and the villagers were able to see how their own interests were benefited, while breaking prejudices that are harmful to their own health.