Livestock abortion ‘a major economic loss undervalued’

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ABORTION in livestock has been termed as a major cause of economic loss in Sub-Sahara Africa, including Tanzania.

Mr George Semango from the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NMAIST) unveiled here that in spite of that fact, the burden is always underestimated due to poor reporting systems.

Mr Semango who along with two other scientists is investigating the epidemiology and surveillance of livestock abortigenic pathogens in Northern Tanzania, disclosed that an enhanced surveillance system using mobile phones, involving the community could gather comprehensive data.

The scientist who is on a field trip with Professor Bassirou Bonfoh who is the Director of Africa Science Partnership for Intervention Research Excellence (ASPIRE) and Ms Sarah Cleaveland from the University of Glasgow, UK, said mobile phones in Tanzania have great potential in such systems due to their wide availability and wide service coverage.

“Livestock abortion events cause morbidity and mortality as well as heavy financial losses to the communities affected. This project focuses on the barriers preventing farmers from reporting abortion while also determining the seroprevalence of cases in livestock.

Additionally common infectious agents causing abortion in cattle, sheep and goats will be genotyped,” said Mr Semango. Furthermore, the researcher noted that the team aims to stimulate community participation on reporting by enhancing existing reporting channels using mobile phones.

He noted that this would be the first time the reporting barriers impacting surveillance systems would be determined and the existing abortion surveillance systems characterised.

Mr Semango said it is combined with information on seroprevalence and genotypic identification of the most common abortigenic agents in livestock in Northern Tanzania. He noted that along with the information, it will provide the much needed basis to put a working, community based surveillance system in place.

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