Impact of the immunisation of cattle against east coast fever in Bugabula County, Kamuli District, Uganda.
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Farmers in Bugabula County, Kamuli District were improving their cattle by crossing zebu cattle with Friesians for better dairy production. ECF was however a limiting factor towards achieving their ultimate goal. The Infection Treatment Method of controlling ECF was relatively new in this area having started in 2001.The research was therefore carried out to assess the impact of ITM in fighting against ECF. The objectives of the study included establishing the effect of ITM on ECF prevalence, mortality of cattle, and the tick burden load and to determine the costs and benefits of adopting it as a method of controlling ECF. The study focused on finding out the impact of ITM in Bugabula County, Kamuli District , Uganda from 2001 to 2009. Data collection was by Focus group discussion and questionnaire administration to farmers. Data analysis was by descriptive analysis and bivariate analysis using a chi- square. Economic and Financial analyses were done using Gross Margin Analysis. The study found out that the vaccine was imported by government and delivered to farmers via government extension system. The Infection Treatment Method (ITM) of immunization against East Coast Fever (ECF) cost per head of cattle was an equivalent of US $ 12.1. Vaccine cost was found to be US $ 2.8 and treatment US $ 1.1 per head of cattle. Vaccination and treatment cost constituted 32 % of the total ITM cost. The rest of the costs (US $ 8.2) were due to transport, veterinary fees and cold chain. ITM practice did not reduce acaricide use. The average half body ticks count as per head of the cattle in ITM users was 12.9±1 which were not significantly different from those in the non ITM users (13.8±0.7). The prevalence of ECF was reduced but incidence of anaplasmosis increased among ITM users. Overall crude mortality due to ECF in cattle of 7.3% among ITM herds was 3.4 times lower than among non-ITM user herds. ECF treatment costs were reduced to 2.33 times among ITM user herds, giving a saving of US $ 7.7 per head of cattle annually. Average sale prices of cattle in the ITM herds were higher than in non ITM users because the majority of the cattle in ITM farms were improved Zebu-Friesian dairy crosses (F3). Annual gross margin (GM) of cattle enterprises per farm of ITM users’ (Ug. Shs 3,708,285) was 81.4% higher than non-ITM farms. It was shown that ITM costs were low and affordable by the farmers. It was projected that if non-ITM users adopted ITM use, cost of ITM would be 0.14 of the GM and 0.09 of gross output on the first of vaccination. These costs would reduce by 88.1% in subsequent years because only calves born would be vaccinated. The costs could further be reduced by having private companies distribute the vaccine and train Community Based Animal Health Workers and farmers to do the ITM. The farmers should be sensitized and encouraged to adopt ITM as its advantages were demonstrable in improving dairy herds. They should also be taught on how to do strategic tick control based on tick population dynamics a practice that would reduce on the tick control costs and yet protect their herds.