By Elizabeth Willoughby on
In some of the poorest nations on earth, 25% of livestock are dying from preventable diseases. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UK Department for International Development (DFID) are donating £28 million to stifle it.
The donation went to charity GALVMed (Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines), who will focus on 13 diseases over 10 years, some of which can pass from animal to human causing even more disturbing numbers of deaths.
But in communities that depend on livestock for basic levels of income and food, proper distribution of vaccines is key. Thus, besides making existing vaccines available and developing some new ones, Galvmed has been developing a strategy for the distribution of them through supply networks, community-level networks and activities to empower local people, reported The Times.
To the Gates' Foundation, the long-term benefits are clear.
“Livestock are a vital asset for many smallholder farmers and their families in developing countries,” said Dr Rajiv Shah, the Foundation’s director of Agricultural Development in the Global Development Program. “Improved technologies that help prevent disease in these animals can help farmers build assets, protect themselves against risk and, over time, lift their families out of poverty.”
Galvmed’s director of policy and external affairs, Dr Hameed Nuru, sees it as a necessity to any aid package. “African people depend on their livestock, more so than any continent,” he said in The Times report. “Livestock and people are intertwined, for religious reasons, for ceremonial reasons, social and economic reason, for food and security. If we help these farmers to get affordable, sustainable vaccines and other products it will go a very long way to improving their livelihood. That is the bottom line.”
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