Knowledge, attitudes, socio-economic impact and coping strategies of Foot and Mouth disease among pastoralists of Kilosa district, Morogoro, Tanzania
Foot and Mouth Disease is a highly contagious transboundary animal disease which has high commercial, economic and social impact. A study was conducted in Kilosa district to assess the knowledge, attitudes, socio-economic impact and coping strategies of Foot and Mouth Disease among the pastoralists at household level. The survey was done in villages which have been reporting FMD almost every year. Data collection involved use of a structured questionnaire and observations. The questionnaire sought information on demographic information, knowledge, coping strategies, attitudes towards control, and socio-economic impact of FMD. Information on herd characteristics and practices related to control and management of FMD was also collected. The data were analysed by descriptive statistics and chi-square test using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software. More than 95% of pastoralists were knowledgeable about clinical signs, transmission and control of FMD while 3.4% had no idea about the disease. The attitude index indicated that pastoralists had a positive attitude towards FMD control strategies. During FMD outbreak, pastoralists sold sick cattle and other animal species, separated sick cattle, shifted the kraals, moved cattle away to FMD free areas for grazing, washed the lesions with soap, car battery water and acaricides and vaccinated animals as coping strategies. Moreover, 14.8% of pastoralists did nothing until the outbreak was over. FMD outbreaks caused income and animal losses, increased cost of management and reduced food security. The coping strategies used by pastoralists aimed at minimising the socio-economic impact of FMD but on the other hand these strategies facilitated spread of the disease. High FMD knowledge and positive attitude of pastoralists towards control strategies is an opportunity to government veterinary authority to engage pastoralists in participatory surveillance and guide them to participate in a well-structured and coordinated FMD control program.
Keywords: Foot and Mouth Disease, pastoralists, transboundary animal disease, coping strategy