Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) or Goat Plague is contagious animal disease that could seriously put domestic and wild small ruminants at risk. This virus is of the utmost concern because its infection rate and fatality rate are extremely high: it can infect up to 90 percent of the heard and can kill up to 70% of the infected animals.
Looking at the consequences of this disease, it is essential that ruminants are vaccinated so that the risk of infection can be minimized. As 20% of all the small ruminants in Sindh are in Tharparkar, a significant number of livestock population can be affected due to low proximity and high infection rate of this disease. Moreover, a report by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Natural Disaster Consortium (NDC) showed that about 25% of the surveyed farmers have reported death of their ruminants.
Therefore, the Sindh government has launched a PPR vaccination drive with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Mr Farrukh Toirov, Deputy Representative of FAO from Pakistan has reported that this campaign will dominantly cover the farmers with scarce resources to vaccinate their livestock by themselves. This includes subsistence farmers, small-scale farmers, and women farmers. This action will vaccinate approximately 3 million ruminants in Tharparkar.
This is a positive step from the Sindh provincial government. It is important that campaigns like these are replicated in other areas of Sindh and rest of Pakistan. There still may be several farmers throughout the country who are unaware of the disease. Hence, if there are difficulties in mass vaccinations of livestock population across Pakistan, it is important to hold interactive awareness sessions that would educate farmers regarding this virus. This would in turn lead to vaccinations becoming an important part of their farming practices.