Fisheries and Livestock Minister Kampamba Chewe says government has so far spent K27.5 million on Foot and Mouth Disease control vaccines in Central, Southern, Northern and Eastern provinces.

Speaking when she rendered a ministerial statement to Parliament, Thursday, Chewe bemoaned the worsening spread of the disease, which she attributed to illegal movement of animals and animal contact at communal watering and grazing points.

“I wish to inform the House that there is an ongoing outbreak of FMD in the country. The House may wish to note that the first case was reported on 22nd March, 2018, in Chisamba District and the disease was reported on 14 farms. Later, in the same month, the disease spread to Chibombo District. Experts from my Ministry conducted laboratory diagnosis and confirmed the disease to be FMD caused by FMD virus Stereotype O, which was closely related to be isolated in Eastern Africa. In February 2019, the disease was reported in Monze District of Southern Province after a herd of 18 cattle were moved from Chisamba into Monze District. This movement was fraudulent and the erring officers have since been suspended and awaiting dismissal. After introduction into Southern Province, the disease later spread to Mazabuka, Pemba, Namwala, and Choma,” Chewe said.

“The latest FMD outbreak situation in the country is as follows: one farm in Nalubanda Veterinary Camp in Mumbwa District; one farm in Chilanga District; one farm in Kanyama of Lusaka District; two farms in Kapiri-Mposhi District; three farms in Kabwe District; one farm in Chingola and in one farm in Kafue District. The disease spread has been worsened by illegal movement of animals and animal contact at communal watering and grazing points. My Ministry, through the Department of Veterinary Services is actively instituting the following measures: (A) surveillance and disease identification. My officers are on the ground carrying out active research of the disease on farms and communal areas, districts and FMD affected areas have been placed on high alert and are taking measures to prevent the disease. (B) Movement controls; all the affected areas have been placed under quarantine and issuance of livestock movement permits suspended; (C) sensitization of farmers and other key stakeholders. My Ministry is working with other key stakeholders in sensitizing the farmers and the general public on FMD; (D) Stepping up of bio-security measures in and out of the affected areas. Bio-security check-points in the affected areas have been set up at strategic points; (E) Mass vaccination campaigns against FMD in high risk areas.”

She announced that government had so far spent K27.5 million in FMD vaccinations in the four affected provinces, while other stakeholders only contributed around K110,000.

“The following is an update on the vaccines conducted so far in the four provinces. (A) Central Province; three rounds of FMD vaccinations have been done in Chisamba and Chibombo districts of Central Province [and] a total of 200,000 doses of FMD vaccine were used to vaccinate 200,000 cattle at a cost of K10.8 million to government; (B) Southern Province, my Ministry has conducted two rounds of FMD vaccinations in cattle. The first round of vaccination in Monze covered a 100,000 cattle, while the booster vaccination covered 210,000 cattle in Mazabuka, Monze, Pemba, Choma and Namwala districts. Vaccinations were also conducted in Itezhi-tezhi, Mumbwa and Shibuyinji districts of Central Province to create a buffer around the Kafue flats where cattle migrate for grazing during the dry season. The FMD vaccines for the two rounds have cost government K13.6 million,” said Chewe.

“[In] Eastern Province, the disease was reported in Vubwi and Lundazi along the border to Malawi. In response, my Ministry set up checkpoints to curb spread of the disease to other areas and conducted farmers and stakeholders sensitization among other measures. My Ministry has provided 78,200 FMD vaccines for the two rounds at the cost of K1.5 million to government. The first round of FMD vaccines in cattle has already been completed. In Northern Province, Madam Speaker, the House may wish to note that Mbala District has continued to be on high alert since 2016 because of the threat of FMD from East Africa. My Ministry dispatched 30,000 doses of FMD vaccines to Mbala District to conduct vaccinations so as to create a buffer zone along the border. The FMD rounds have cost government K1.6 million. The government has so far spent K27.5 million and the stakeholders have contributed about K110,000 towards the control of the disease.”