Written by Mathews Ngunda
The Department of Animal Health and Livestock in Mzuzu has issued the ban on slaughter and sale of meet in the northern region and surrounding areas due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
In an interview with www.smashmw.com on Monday in Mzuzu, Deputy Director of Veterinary in Malawi Dr. Gilson Njunga, the move was to prevent the spread of the virus to other livestocks.
The department conducted a meeting with all butchermen in the region which was aimed at sensitizing them of the virus that has escalated in the region.
Dr. Njunga, in his address to the people made an appeal to all stakeholders to adhere to the ban to ensure that the virus is not spread further to other animals and that people’s lives are spared from the virus.
It is the mandate of Animal Health and Livestock to protect the national herd from disease, the community at large have also a role to play in terms of complying to the set control measures,” Dr Njonga explained.
He said currently, they are urging all the key stakeholders to ensure compliance to applied control measures for the benefit of the nation at large
“The set control measures are applied according to the laws of Malawi under the control and animal diseases measures are applied according to the provided for chapter act 66:02 which provide for appropriate penalties for those not complying.
However the department has left Shoprite as the sole trader of meat in the region, a move that has ensued mixed reactions as some say that the idea is monopolising the industry.
The meeting went out of hand when farmers and business operators argued with the officials of animal health department. Franklyn Hara of Mkanile butchery told the animal health officials to maintain the ban to all stakeholders in order to deal with the problem with speed,
“I will propose that the ban be maintained according to the document issued earlier on by your department, and as people living and doing business in the region we make a plea that no one should be found selling meet,” said Hara.
Responding to the petition from the stakeholders that attended the meeting and represented the whole northern region butcheries, Dr. Njonga advised the stakeholders to put their petition in writing.
When asked what the government is doing to curb the outbreak, Njunga says samples from infected animals have been taken to Botswana for testing and are waiting for postmotem results which will help the government to purchase the right medication to treatment the disease.
Two weeks ago the Ministry of Health through the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development banned the selling of all meat products in the country as one way of preventing the spread of the disease.
Currently, the Ministry is putting all the necessary measures to ensure that the disease does not spread further
The control measure include strengthening disease surveillance for early detection, reporting and response, instituting security measures such as roadblock and disinfection points, sensitization the community and general public on the diseases
Meanwhile, the Ministry is appealing to communities not to eat the infected meat as this will help the spreading of the diseases.