Saturday, 22 May 2010

At last, intelligent aid for Africa

It is a little after dawn in the Maasai district of Engarenaibor in northwestern Tanzania. Amid a pre-historic landscape of rolling grassland and acacia trees, Paolo Lemorongo, a farmer, is rounding up cows, so that his visitors can see for themselves the tiny yellow tags that have been attached to each animal’s ear. The tag signifies an animal inoculated against the deadly Ndigana kali, better known as East Coast fever.

“Before the vaccination became available, most of my animals died,” says Mr Lemorongo. “If the cows delivered 80 calves, only five would survive. Of course, when vets first brought the treatment here some people were suspicious, but when they saw that so many animals survived, suddenly everyone wanted it.”

Mr Lemorongo, whose home is a four-hour drive by Land Rover from Arusha, the nearest city, is understandably delighted to be the beneficiary of a ground-breaking aid project, developed by Galvmed (Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines). This Edinburgh-based charity was founded five years ago with the aim of halting East Coast fever and 12 other deadly livestock diseases that lay waste to millions of animals every year across the African continent and throughout the developing world.

It seems an unfeasibly large ambition...

... and it is hugely ambitious. The whole article is here Galvmed's intelligent aid. Strangely, this article is filed under "Scotland" at Times online; also the paper printed the word Maasai as Masai, I know not why. All of which is rather a shame, because this is a fantastic aid project, which deserves to be widely reported.

The photo is by me, for once. James Glossop took some fantastic pix, four of which you can see on the Times site, and more on his Times blog, when he gets round to putting them up.

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