Improving poultry health through community animal health workers in Ethiopia

Kyeema recently completed a pilot project on “Livelihoods for Resilience” with funding partner CARE and several other implementing partners in Amhara, Sidama and SNNP regions of Ethiopia.

The overall aim was to improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers through protecting their village chickens from dying, by improving access to the Newcastle disease (ND) vaccine. This was done by employing a new private-public ND vaccination model. The model trained, equipped and supported male and female community vaccinators, who worked with vaccine distributing Veterinary Vendors to vaccinate chickens for households in their communities, using the Ethiopian National Veterinary Institute produced thermotolerant I-2 ND vaccine.

Pilot private-public distribution model (top) versus government distribution model (bottom).

Participation in vaccination campaigns was key

276 (48% female) Community Vaccinators were trained in vaccine administration techniques and actively participated in conducting three vaccination campaigns in March, July and November 2021. In Amhara, unfortunately only the March vaccination campaign could be completed as the July campaign was discontinued due to security concerns. On average, 12,412 households participated and around 66,777 chickens were vaccinated in each campaign. This is a significant outcome for the project as during the baseline survey, only 1 of the 120 households interviewed reported vaccinating their chickens against ND.

Care project

Above: One of the community vaccinators trained to vaccinate chickens against Newcastle disease in her region. Photo credit: Kyeema Foundation.

Moving in the right direction

By far the greatest achievement of the project was a behaviour change from free to fee-paying service for poultry vaccines in participating households – Community Vaccinators interviewed in Sidama and SNNP reported that 94% of households paid for the service, with 87% paying with cash on the spot. In Kyeema’s experience, this is a significant achievement for a 12-month project. Furthermore, 95% of households in these regions interviewed during the end-line survey reported that the ND vaccination service was beneficial and 98% indicated that they would likely participate in future campaigns. This shows there is a demand for the service, though the set price per vaccinated bird needs to be negotiated to balance sales potential with what households are willing to pay. Importantly, the National Veterinary Institute has agreed to continue to produce the I-2 ND vaccine in 100 dose vials to sustain the model and has undertaken to continue to coordinate with regions for ongoing delivery.

Future of the model in Ethiopia

We will be continuing to work in Aleta Chuko Woreda in Sidama region to ensure a 4th vaccination campaign runs smoothly, vet vendor capacity is developed, and I-2 vaccine supply is sustained. We hope to scale up this private-public model of animal health delivery across regions in Ethiopia in the coming 5 years.