Impact of brucellosis on Socio-Economic Well-being of Cattle Farmers inthe Western and Southern Provinces of Zambia
Mwinyi, Omari M.
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Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonotic and devastating disease that affects households‟ potential to improve their well-being through trade in livestock and livestock commodities. Despite the disease being endemic in Zambia, there is inadequate information, on its socio-economic impact on the well-being of households rearing cattle. Therefore, a cross-sectional study was conducted in the Western and Southern provinces of Zambia to determine the impact of brucellosis on socio-economic wellbeing of cattle farmers at household level. The specific objectives of the study were to determine losses and costs associated with brucellosis in cattle; determine socioeconomic well-being levels at the household; evaluate the linkages between brucellosis and socio-economic well-being status; assess the extent to which the current health policies are implemented to support One Health approaches in brucellosis control; develop a framework for collaboration between veterinary and medical experts in controlling brucellosis and other zoonoses. Structured questionnaires, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data in this research. Furthermore, both descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse quantitative data using IBM-SPSS 22® while qualitative data was analysed using Nvivo® and content analysis. All costs and monetary losses were estimated in Zambian Kwacha (ZMW) and the equivalent international currency (USD); the exchange rate was 1 USD to 11.45 ZMW. The overall total loss attributed to brucellosis-related calf mortality, in the studied households was 1,536,000 ZMW equivalent to USD 134,148.47; 77,700 ZMW equivalent to USD 6,786.02 was due to milk losses, 18,000 ZMW equivalent to USD 1,572.05 was due to mortality among seropositive cattle and 52,960 ZMW equivalent to USD 4,626.37 was due to veterinary interventions. Lack of money to pay for livestock health services was significantly associated with poor household socio-economic well-being (p = 0.003), while the level of education of household heads was associated with the highest positive brucellosis impact (p = 0.005) on household socio-economic well-being. Further, the results also show that there was a big difference in the levels of socio-economic well-being in the study areas with, 59.0% of households being classified as poor and only 2.0% of households were classified as rich. Consequently, the null hypothesis was rejected in favour of the alternative hypothesis, which stated that socio-economic well-being levels differ significantly where there is less impact of brucellosis in cattle and where such impact is higher(F = 11.268, p = <0.001). It was also found that more than two-thirds of the respondents from the Ministry of Health (MoH) and Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (MFL) (73.1%) agreed that there was no policy support which directly facilitated One Health in terms of collaboration. The findings show that the overall attitude towards One Health collaboration among medical and veterinary personnel was favourable. On the basis of these findings, it can be concluded that reduced cost of disease prevention and losses due to brucellosis can improve socio-economic well-being of cattle farmers in the Western and Southern provinces of Zambia. Accordingly, in order to reduce costs and losses attributed to brucellosis, livestock services and surveillance systems for brucellosis should be prioritised and a One Health collaboration framework should be adopted by the Government in order to protect farmers from losses attributed to brucellosis and other zoonoses.
- Veterinary Medicine