Biosecurity knowledge, attitudes and practices of livestock farmers on selected farms of Kamwenge District, Uganda
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Worldwide, infectious are diseases are on the rise, hence strengthening farm biosecurity is vital to stabilize livestock production, protect economies, human health, the environment, and social cultural values. Limited implementation of biosecurity in Uganda may partly be due to lapses in biosecurity knowledge and practices among livestock farming communities. This cross-sectional mixed method study, sought to identify gaps in biosecurity knowledge, attitudes, and practices, and assess biosecurity levels among livestock farms in three sub-counties of Kamwenge, Kahunge and Bigodi, Kamwenge district. A total of 449 questionnaires were administered to obtain quantitative data whilst 10 key informative interviews (KIIs) and 6 focus group discussions (FGDs) were used to obtain qualitative data. The findings of the study revealed, that although certain biosecurity practices are undertaken, many are carried out infrequently. Majority of respondents reporting absence of fences (59.7%), complete vaccination program (56%), left dead animals un buried on ground (48.3%), absence of foot baths (96.2%) and farm records (61.9%), non-restriction of visitors (78%) and not disinfecting people and vehicle entering farms (94.7%). This was attributed to many factors as revealed in qualitative data such as; cultural practices like a “taboo” to throw dead animals, farmer’s inadequate incomes and limited biosecurity trainings by private and government veterinarians. The farms had poor biosecurity levels with majority scoring medium (75.7%) and low (22.5%) biosecurity levels in general biosecurity, and most scored medium and low biosecurity among external and internal biosecurity. While still most scored low on biosecurity practice (92.9%) and attitudes (64.1%) even though many had high biosecurity knowledge score (94.2%). Chi-square test of associations revealed, education levels and geographical locations of respondents (p-value=0.01), and a number of measures farmers employed (p-value 0.001) was positively associated to BS practices. Still there was a significant positive association between seeking for information on best practices (p-value=0.001), attending biosecurity trainings (p-value= 0.008), farmer’s satisfaction and priority with own hygienic practices (p-value=0.01), with biosecurity practices. Hence veterinarians should enhance community biosecurity attitudes, practices and training gaps through improvement on access to quality farm biosecurity information using right channels, and providing more trainings, to aid in controlling likely future spread and outbreaks of infectious diseases.