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Priority issues in tropical animal health management

EB Etuk
IC Okoli
ABI Udedibie


The potential of livestock to sustain family and local economies have been acknowledged worldwide. However, the major constraints to the attainment of this potential especially in the tropics have been the incidence of disease and sundry ill health. Thus the development of an effective animal health management strategy will not only improve productivity but also ensure the sustainability of tropical livestock production system. Several strategies have been put in place in different regions of the world based on issues that are of priority in such areas. These range from legislation and control, mass campaigns against specific diseases, education, research and provision of veterinary services. However, before any of these strategies can be successfully employed, issues of production systems, which are often predicated on the objective of such production, needs to be clearly outlined and integrated to the strategy to ensure that local problems and circumstances are properly accommodated. This is more so when one considers the fact that strategic issues that may be effective in animal health management in one region may at best be partially successful and at worst, find no application in other regions especially in the tropics. Most regions of the world have evolved relatively successful indigenous knowledge based systems and ethno veterinary medical practices in solving their problems almost successfully. The prioritization of animal health management issues in the tropics must therefore take cognizance of these indigenous strategies. In doing this, the participatory approach where the potential beneficiaries of such strategies are carried along from conception to execution must be stridently explored. Such approach would produce a structured marriage of the conventional and indigenous practices for the benefit of, and acceptance by all in the tropics.

Keywords: tropics, livestock production, animal health, veterinary services, indigenous knowledge, participatory research

Animal Production Research Advances Vol. 1(2) 2005: 83-92

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eISSN: 0794-4721