In the vast regions of Afar, Somali, and Oromia in Ethiopia, livestock are not just animals, but a lifeline for pastoral farmers. They provide income and food for these communities, but sadly, preventable diseases have taken a toll on their beloved animals, leading to significant losses in a country with the largest livestock population in Africa.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched a massive vaccination campaign to protect the livelihoods of these vulnerable pastoralists. Camels, cattle, goats, sheep, shoats, and donkeys were vaccinated against blackleg, bovine pasteurellosis, anthrax and ovine pasteurellosis, which are common animal diseases killing livestock in the three regions.
John Karongo, the ICRC deputy economic security coordinator for resilience programs in Ethiopia, explained, "By vaccinating their livestock, we protect the livelihood of these vulnerable pastoralist communities where basic structures like animal health posts and pharmacies have either been destroyed due to conflict, are not functioning or partially functioning."
The impact of this campaign has been remarkable, with a total of 67,733 pastoralists benefiting from this vaccination campaign by the ICRC. In February and March 2023, ICRC veterinarians and community animal health workers tirelessly worked to vaccinate a total of 2,034,400 animals, providing a much-needed lifeline to pastoral farmers who rely on their livestock for survival.