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Sudan: ICRC conference on animal health care in nomadic communities

13-12-2011 News Release 11/259

Khartoum (ICRC) – A conference on animal health care in nomadic communities initiated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is opening in Nyala, South Darfur, today. The aim is to discuss the problems involved in providing animal health services and to find durable solutions.

The conference, taking place today and tomorrow, brings together over 90 participants, including 50 community animal health workers from South Darfur as well as representatives of the Sudanese authorities and of local and international non-governmental organizations.

"This is the first time that so many people have gathered to consider how to respond to challenges faced by animal health workers, such as obtaining drugs in remote areas and dealing with emerging new diseases," said Ursula Kayali, an ICRC livestock expert. "We also want to discuss how animal health workers can better support milk production to boost sales within their communities."

Since 2005, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries, the ICRC has organized courses in Darfur for almost 300 animal health workers, who handle basic veterinary services, animal disease reporting and vaccination campaigns for their nomadic communities. So far this year, in Darfur alone, almost one million animals have been protected against the main diseases by vaccination campaigns undertaken jointly by the ministry and the ICRC.

''We used to lose around 30 animals in our herd every year, mostly during the rainy season – when disease spreads easily,'' said Sheikh Ibrahima Al Nama, from West Darfur. ''This year we lost only three, thanks to vaccinations administered by our animal health workers, the ICRC and the Ministry of Animal Resources and Fisheries.''

In addition to receiving health care for their animals, nomads in Darfur also benefit from the ICRC's repairs of public water points along livestock migration routes. This year, in cooperation with local communities and water authorities, the ICRC upgraded 30 water points in Darfur serving over 213,000 people and their livestock.

For further information, please contact:
Aleksandra Matijevic Mosimann, ICRC Khartoum, tel: +249 1 83 476 464 or +249 912 170 576
Adil Sharif (for Arabic), ICRC Khartoum, tel: +249 91 213 77 64