Prioritization of livestock diseases by pastoralists in Oloitoktok Sub County, Kajiado County, Kenya

Caroline M. Mburu*, Salome Bukachi, Hamilton Majiwa, Dismas Ongore, Matthew Baylis, Kennedy Mochabo, Eric Fevre, Olivia Howland

*Corresponding author for this work

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Livestock diseases are a big challenge for the livelihood of pastoralists in sub-Saharan Africa because they reduce livestock productivity and increase mortality. Based on the literature available there is limited understanding on how pastoralists prioritize these diseases in the context of their culture, ecosystems and livelihoods. A study was conducted to provide insights on lay prioritization of animal diseases by pastoralists in Kenya.

A qualitative study was undertaken between March and July 2021. Thirty in-depth interviews and six focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with community members to explore community attitudes on livestock diseases prioritization. Male and female livestock keepers were purposively selected and interviewed and they were all long-term residents of the area. Fourteen key informant interviews (KIIs) were conducted with professionals from different key sectors to provide detailed stakeholder perspectives on livestock diseases. The interviews were analyzed thematically using the QSR Nvivo software to identify the emerging themes related to the study objectives.

The pastoralists prioritized livestock diseases based on effect on their economic wellbeing, cultural values and utilization of ecosystem services. There were gender variabilities in how diseases were prioritized among the pastoralists. Men cited high priority diseases as foot and mouth disease and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia due to their regular occurrence and effect on livelihood. Notably, women regarded coenuruses as very important because it affected sheep and goats with a high mortality rate and lumpy skin disease because it rendered the meat from the carcasses inedible. Malignant catarrhal fever and trypanosomiasis were noted as some of the common diseases in the livestock-wildlife interface but not cited as priority diseases. Challenges related to disease control in pastoralist contexts exist including limited access to livestock treatment services, inadequate information on disease impact and complex environmental factors.

This study sheds light on the body of knowledge in Kenya regarding livestock diseases and their prioritization by livestock keepers. This could aid in the development of a common disease control framework and prioritization at the local level which would take into consideration the dynamic socio-cultural, ecological, livelihood and economic contexts of the communities.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0287456
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2023


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