Pastoralism and the Issue of Zoonoses in Ethiopia

Angesom Hadush Desta


Pastoralism is a livelihood based on livestock rearing which is experienced by sedentary or mobile communities. In Ethiopia, Pastoralism is extensively practiced in almost two-thirds of the national land area. The livelihood of pastoral community of Ethiopia is mainly dependant on livestock production. Since the pastoralists have an intimate relationship with their animals, zoonotic infections, transmissible between humans and animals, are closely associated with pastoralism. Factors such as proximity to animals, food consumption behavior, problems related to contamination of milk and meat, inadequate supply of treatment drugs, harsh environmental conditions, and socioeconomic and cultural practices have exposed the pastoralists to different zoonotic diseases. The level of awareness about zoonoses in the pastoralists and also in the health professionals found in the pastoral areas of the country is low. Moreover, there is lack of diagnostic and therapeutic facilities for zoonotic diseases in the health centers and limited municipality abattoirs and hygienic milk centers. Even though zoonotic diseases are found in a significant rate in pastoral communities, there is often a general lack of focus with a subsequent failure to prioritize their control by human and animal health sectors. Therefore, integrated intervention among veterinarians, health professionals, governmental and nongovernmental bodies and the community is mandatory to effectively address the health problems. Community based programs such as health education on zoonoses, establishing diagnostic and therapeutic facilities of zoonotic diseases in the health centers and establishing municipality abattoirs and hygienic milk distributing centers is critical for zoonotic diseases control and prevention in pastoral areas of Ethiopia.

Keywords: Ethiopia, Livelihood, Livestock, Pastoralism, Zoonoses.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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