To commemorate the 2019 World Veterinary Day whose theme was the Value of Vaccination, the Veterinary Social Business (VSB) division of Hester Biosciences Limited, a GALVmed partner in South Asia, recently conducted a weeklong livestock vaccination campaign. The seven-day campaign was an innovative awareness activity on the value of livestock vaccination. The campaign targeted all stakeholders in the value chain including, veterinarians, researchers, academicians, community animal health service providers, distributors, entrepreneurs, and smallholder farmers. Activities were conducted in areas of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where GALVmed and Hester previously implemented projects and in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where projects are ongoing
Vaccines are typically one of the most economical inputs in animal husbandry with maximum return on investment. Beyond monetary benefits, there are many socio-economic aspects of livestock vaccination especially in the smallholder livestock sector in resource-constrained areas.
The initiative started on April 27, 2019. VSB Team members circulated digital messages over mobile platform WhatsApp and personally visited 880 veterinarians to extend gratitude for support in vaccinations in the smallholder sector. Across all states, the team also participated in veterinary professionals’ meetings and shared their experiences in vaccinating poultry and goats in rural and tribal areas which have shown encouraging results in monetary and non- monetary value creation.
Early data reflect the following key benefits:
- Reduced mortality means more birds and goats ie. more productivity
- Improved household nutrition and consumption of meat and eggs
- Improved household financial status due increased sales of livestock produce.
- Significant change in mindset of small livestock keepers towards entrepreneurial ventures, investment and growth.
To sensitise all stakeholders, eleven key messages were developed in both Hindi and English languages. These were circulated over WhatsApp, followed by visits from the VSB team to discuss the messages in detail with the various stakeholders. Messages touched on the important role of veterinary service providers, increasing coverage of vaccination, breaking the myth of free vaccinations in backyard poultry, the role of women in livestock vaccination, changes in distributions of veterinary vaccines, entrepreneurial opportunities in livestock vaccination and effective partnerships.
Hester Veterinary Social Business is committed to serve smallholder farmers. Currently, vaccinations in village poultry and PPR & Goat Pox vaccinations in small ruminants are being undertaken.
This blog was written by Dr Rahul Srivastava (Veterinary Social Business, Hester) and Dr Peetambar Kushwaha (GALVmed)