Title page for ETD etd-04112008-150144

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Shikongo-Kuvare, Lorna Tuwilika
Email Ishikongo@meatco.com.na
URN etd-04112008-150144
Document Title Development of risk communication strategies to improve control of Cysticerus Bovis in North Central Namibia
Degree MSc (Veterinary Science)
Department Paraclinical Sciences
Advisor Name Title
Prof C Steward Co-Supervisor
Prof C M E McCrindle Supervisor
  • meat inspection
  • Cysticercosis bovis
  • North Central Namibia
  • zoonotic diseases
Date 2007-04-18
Availability unrestricted

Between 60-70% of Namibia’s population practice subsistence agro-pastoralism on communal land that constitutes 41% of the total land area. Cysticercosis bovis is found worldwide, but most often in rural developing countries, where unhygienic conditions are coupled with poor cattle management practices and lack or absence of meat inspection. Because livestock is so important to the economy and social structure of the majority of people in Namibia, risks from zoonotic diseases transmitted from domestic animals to humans are a constant threat and are therefore of major concern. In addition, C.bovis is also emerging as a public health risk not only in these rural communities but also in urban areas where many infected cattle are transported, informally slaughtered and consumed. This disease has a negative impact on food safety, and thus is related to Veterinary Public Health (VPH) strategies in Namibia. Over the period from 2000 to 2004, 3232 (8%) measles detections were recorded from the 40 373 cattle slaughtered at Meatco Oshakati Abattoir. C.bovis is considered important from both an economic (loss of income to cattle owners) and human health (it is a zoonosis) point of view.

The aim of the study was to do an analysis of the level of C.bovis in bovine carcasses at the abattoir, in order to identify geographical areas where the disease is prevalent in cattle in North Central Namibia and to develop a risk communication strategy, to improve the control of this disease in the target population (subsistence cattle farmers in the study area).

Meat inspection was carried out for a period of 12 months and the abattoir records examined covered two years (2004 –2005). Results showed that incidence for C.bovis of cattle originating from Oshikoto Region were high: (12%). Omusati and Oshana Regions had an incidence of 7% and a much lower incidence of C.bovis (5%) was reported in cattle from the Ohangwena Region.

Structured interviews with 95 farmers (99% male and 1% female) in all the four Regions of the study area, were carried out using a set of questionnaires (Appendix A). The questionnaires had provision for numerical data and comments concerning changes, constraints and suggestions for improving dissemination of information and extension services in the target areas.

It was noted that between 5% and 13 % of respondents had neither pit latrines nor waterborne sewage. This leads to the conclusion that a significant proportion of the rural population is defecating in an area which is available to the cows grazing close to the homestead or cattle post. In addition, 61% of cattle from this area are marketed through informal marketing and many of them are slaughtered informally with no meat inspection taking place. This provides a high risk of infestation for the consumer, which perpetuates the parasite in the rural population. The educational level showed that 24% had no formal education and 33% had only primary school education. The language spoken by 93% of respondents is Oshiwambo and although only 20% speak English or Afrikaans, extension materials, including visual material, is not available in the vernacular. Between 58% and 96% of the respondents from the four Regions had no knowledge of the disease and how it could be diagnosed and controlled in both people and cattle. In Oshikoto Region, where the incidence in slaughtered cattle was the highest, only 4% of the respondents knew about C.bovis in cattle.

The results obtained for language proficiency advocates for extension materials to be developed in Oshiwambo (which 93% of the target population are able to read and write). Skills training using visual aids and personal communication in Oshiwambo would be needed for other 7% who are illiterate.

From the above, it was concluded that extension is needed to reduce the incidence of C.bovis in cattle. The most important extension messages, as determined by an expert opinion survey of veterinarians in Namibia, were firstly that families should be treated for tapeworms and secondly that they should only buy meat that has been inspected after slaughter at an abattoir.

It was recommended that stakeholders in the livestock industry, and the state as well as the Department of Health should be made aware of the high level of cysticercosis and the equally high level of ignorance about the disease in rural areas of North Central Namibia. Veterinary and agriculture staff should be motivated to communicate and combine efforts to assist each other, as transport is expensive and one of the main constraints to successful extension because of the great distances in North Central Namibia. Funding should also be found for production of extension materials in the vernacular.

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