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Script 104.2

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In Mali, nearly 70% of people live in rural areas and rely on growing crops, raising livestock, and fishing. Raising chickens is part of their daily routine. The birds breed quickly, are easy to feed, and bring a profit. Chickens are a “mobile bank” for villagers in Mali; the money they receive from selling the poultry helps them cover occasional family expenses.

In Bougouni District, poultry farming has become the main activity of young people. These young people have decided to remain in the villages because selling chickens provides them with a significant profit, which enables them to meet their family’s major needs.

This is the case with Soumaïla Diakité, a 28-year-old man who, after spending two years in the city, decided to return to his village to raise chickens. But, like most poultry farmers in the area, he was faced with Newcastle disease. This disease has a considerable impact on poultry farmers, despite the efforts of government and local NGOs. Newcastle disease does not have a cure, but there is a vaccine which can prevent it. Part of the problem is that farmers prefer to take care of their chickens themselves instead of asking the few local veterinarians for help.

In this script, we visit a young poultry farmer in a village in the district of Bougouni, 160 kilometres from Mali’s capital city, Bamako. On the day of our visit, a veterinary technician is vaccinating the farmer’s birds against Newcastle disease, which devastated his flock the previous year.

Moussa Koné is a veterinary technician and the head of livestock production in Bougouni District. He vaccinates and otherwise takes care of chickens in villages near Bougouni, and he advises farmers how to prevent poultry diseases in general, and particularly Newcastle disease, which he calls “the most dangerous avian disease.” In the script, he advises the young farmer who asked him to help save his chickens.

You might choose to present this script as part of your regular farming program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.

You could also use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating your own programming on managing chicken diseases or similar topics in your country.

Talk to farmers and experts who raise chickens or are knowledgeable about the birds. You might ask them:

  • Do households keep chickens in your area?
  • Do farmers use free-range systems, or do they confine their birds for part or all of their lives?

What are the major chicken disease challenges in your area? What solutions have poultry farmers and other experts found for these challenges?

Apart from speaking directly to farmers and other key players in the local agriculture sector, you could use these questions as the basis for a phone-in or text-in program.

Estimated running time for this item is 15-20 minutes, including intro and outro.

 

Script

CHARACTERS:

MARIAM KONÉ:
journalist at L’Annonceur newspaper

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
poultry farmer, Flaboula village

MOUSSA KONÉ:
veterinary technician

 

MARIAM KONÉ:
Dear listeners, good evening. Once again, thank you for choosing Radio La voix des paysans. Welcome to Rural Development, our weekly show. Today, we present the story of a young poultry farmer faced with Newcastle disease.

My name is Mariam Koné and I am a reporter with L’Annonceur, a women-led newspaper. I will take you to the village of Flaboula, in Bougouni District, 160 kilometres from Bamako. In this program, we learn how poultry farmer Soumaïla Diakité saved his chickens from Newcastle disease, thanks to a veterinary technician’s advice. Following an outbreak on his farm, the young farmer did not quit, but brought new chickens. This time, he decided to call on a veterinary technician. The technician gives him advice and vaccinates his chickens. Let’s listen to the farmer’s story.

SFX:
FARM SOUNDS FOR A FEW SECONDS, THEN FADE UNDER SPEAKERS.

MARIAM KONÉ:
It is 12:30, and we are on Soumaïla Diakité’s farm. The farm is in a forested area behind the village. Mr. Diakité cleared one part of the forest to build an impressive “castle” with sun-dried bricks and leaves. A shea tree stands right in the middle of the courtyard, and chickens, guinea fowl, and a few turkeys sit in its shade to take refuge from the blazing sun. My guide and I travelled nine kilometres under that same sun to interview the young farmer on his poultry farm.

The noise of our motorbike awoke the birds, which scattered in a well-weeded yard. There are two straw-roofed henhouses at the end of the yard, and piles of crushed maize, sorghum, and millet, mixed with cereal bran. Over the next few minutes, chickens and guinea fowls scattered the ground cereal, looking for grains.

A field of maize surrounds the young farmer’s yard. A tall man wearing grey pants and a red T-shirt with small holes walks out from the field. It is Soumaïla Diakité, a married man with three children, despite his young age. He walks toward us smiling and places the ears of maize he has just harvested on the ground. He greets my guide before shaking hands with me courteously.

SFX:
SOUND OF WILD BIRDS AND CHICKENS MINGLES WITH CONVERSATION

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
Good morning, Madam! I hope you are not exhausted by the trip. Our roads are almost impassable at this time of year.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Good morning, Soumaïla. I am doing well, thanks. I am Mariam Koné from L’Annonceur newspaper. I have come here to talk to you about Newcastle disease. I chose your farm because villagers told me that you love poultry farming, but this disease hinders your progress. Soumaïla, what is this disease that all the villagers call the “great endemic disease”?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
We also call it the “henhouse bulldozer.” When the disease walks into a henhouse, only feathers are left. Other people call it “chicken meningitis” because some chickens become paralyzed and even blind, after suffering from strong diarrhea. Some chickens go mad.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Mad?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
Yes, they stumble when they walk and make deafening noises. They behave like mad people lost in the jungle.

MARIAM KONÉ:
When did you first encounter Newcastle disease?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
When I started poultry farming. The disease is an old one that we have been able to manage from one generation to another. All the poultry farmers who have a henhouse face this disease, even if they are not big farmers. That is why, every year, people look for a new brood to fill their houses before the disease shows up again.

MARIAM KONÉ:
What time of the year does the disease occur?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
It occurs during the cold season, between November and February. That’s when most of my neighbours get a lot of sick chickens.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Did you ever ask yourself why this time is a great danger for your chickens?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
According to elders, it is the wind which brings the disease. But since I lost so many chickens, I went to Bougouni to ask a veterinarian if he could visit my chickens and do something so the disease does not strike my henhouse this year.

MARIAM KONE:
How badly did the disease affect your brood last time?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
Eight months ago, there were more than 80 chickens in my henhouse. The “great endemic disease” devastated all my brood. Now, I have only 50 chickens left. The good news is that five of my hens had chicks two weeks ago.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Why did you wait all this time before asking the veterinarian to help?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
I used to vaccinate my chickens myself early in the season, before the disease comes. But, in most cases, the chickens got sick a few days later, and many died.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Do you remember how many chickens you lost after the last time you vaccinated your chickens?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
I lost about thirty. It was last February.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Did the veterinarian give you advice before you administered the vaccine?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
No.

MARIAM KONÉ:
And you didn’t ask him for any advice? Are you sure he is a real veterinarian?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
(LAUGHS) You are right. I just buy the drugs. He sells them to me without any advice. Because he sells products for animals, everybody calls him a veterinarian.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Where else do you buy products to vaccinate or treat your chickens?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
I often buy them from a street vendor who comes to the village market every week.

MARIAM KONÉ:
What types of products does he sell?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
He sells drugs for other diseases.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Such as …?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
There are small bottles for louses, parasites, and particularly trypanosomiasis, commonly called buganw ka sumayia in the Bambara language.

MARIAM KONÉ:
OK. I think the veterinary technician will come and give us some explanations.

SFX:
SOUND OF A MOTORBIKE APPROACHING

MARIAM KONÉ:
So, talk about the veterinary technician …

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
And he is sure to appear!

MARIAM KONÉ:
(LAUGHS). (Editor’s note: the reporter is making reference to the saying: “Talk of the devil and he is sure to appear.”)

SFX:
SOUND OF A MOTORBIKE SLOWLY DRAWING CLOSE, THEN FADING. SOUND OF BIRDS RUNNING WILD, THEN CALMING DOWN.

MARIAM KONÉ:
(TO AUDIENCE) A short man parks his red scooter under the shea tree in the middle of the yard. He takes off his helmet and says hello.

MOUSSA KONÉ:
Good morning!

MARIAM AND

SOUMAÏLA:
Good morning.

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
Mariam, this is Moussa Koné, the veterinary technician from Bougouni of whom I spoke.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Good morning. Nice to meet you. I am Mariam Koné, a reporter with L’Annonceur. It seems that dozens of chickens die here. I came here to see things for myself. May I interview you so that you can tell us more about this disease?

MOUSSA KONÉ:
It would be a pleasure. But let me examine a few birds and inspect Soumaïla’s henhouses first. Would you mind being my assistant?

MARIAM KONÉ:
Okay. What should I do first? Do you want me to carry your toolkit?

MOUSSA KONÉ:
No. First of all, just observe what I’m doing.

MARIAM KONÉ:
(LAUGHS) That is no problem!

MARIAM KONÉ:
(TO AUDIENCE) The veterinary technician bends down slightly, enters the first henhouse, and looks around briefly. He does the same thing for the second henhouse. I stand in the hut. It is very hot. The floor is covered with white and black droppings and the hut stinks. After taking a few steps inside, Moussa Koné rushes to the door and heads towards the shea tree where chickens and guinea fowl are taking shelter from the blazing sun.

MOUSSA KONÉ:
(SPEAKING TO SOUMAÏLA) I inspected your houses. The first thing you should do is to disinfect them completely. Your henhouse is not well maintained. There is mould, the floor is humid, and the place smells bad.

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
Really! How?

MOUSSA KONÉ:
You must sweep the floor, burn the droppings, and then spray the houses with disinfectant. Also, I advise you to no longer treat your birds haphazardly. You say you administer vaccines to your chickens and guinea fowl by yourself. But there is a specific process you must follow to prevent Newcastle disease. You will have to take trainings and get vaccines which comply with standards. To prevent your henhouses from being infected by Newcastle disease, you must strictly comply with the vaccination schedule and the treatments.

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
Okay. I’m all ears.

MOUSSA KONÉ:
First, we should vaccinate the chicks as soon as they hatch and then give them a booster dose one week or 15 days later. After every vaccine, we must give them an anti-stress. This is made of an antibiotics and vitamins. The anti-stress quickly relieves the birds from the stress caused by the vaccine and it minimizes vaccine failures. First, we are going to vaccinate the chicks which are 15 days or older. xxx

MARIAM KONÉ:
(TO AUDIENCE) Without saying a word, the young farmer heads toward a hut where he collects three baskets made with palmyra palm stalks. There are chickens and guinea fowl keets in these baskets.

MARIAM KONÉ:
(TO THE FARMER) Are your vaccines already prepared?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
Yes.

MOUSSA KONÉ:
Let me see. (SOUND OF SMALL BOTTLES BEING TURNED IN HIS HAND) Yes, I see a vaccine for Newcastle disease, but the other one is a drug for ruminants, like cattle and goats. This one is not suitable for chickens!

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
(INSISTING) But one of my friends in another village gave it to me. He gives it to his chickens and guinea fowl, and they are in good health.

MOUSSA KONÉ:
Can you give me his name?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
His name is Amadou Coulibaly.

MOUSSA KONÉ:
Are we talking about the same Amadou who has a blue Djakarta? (Editor’s note: “Djakarta” is a brand of motorbike used by people in Mali.) If this is him, I went to his place last week to give vaccines to his chickens and guinea fowl. His chickens are doing well not because he gives them this drug, but because he strictly applies the advice I give him to prevent Newcastle disease.

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
Really?

MOUSSA KONÉ:
Yes. This drug is recommended for cattle diseases, and it is administered to cows weighting 100 kilograms or more. So I advise you to stop vaccinating your chickens with this drug.

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
I understand.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Soumaïla, why did you put the chicks in a basket?

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
Chicks are not easy to catch. This is why I put them into baskets to be vaccinated.

MOUSSA KONÉ:
My assistant, can you bring me the vacuum bottle tied to the motorbike?

MARIAM KONÉ:
Yes, sir!

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
What a dynamic learner! (LAUGHTER)

MARIAM KONÉ:
(TO AUDIENCE) I am holding a vacuum bottle, the inside of which is white in colour.

MOUSSA KONÉ:
Thank you.

MARIAM KONÉ:
(TO AUDIENCE, SLOWLY) The veterinary technician opens the vacuum bottle and removes a vial similar to the one Soumaïla is holding. He fills a syringe. Soumaïla takes the chicks one by one, and the veterinary technician lifts their fragile wings. The chicks fight back and cluck miserably.

SFX:
SOUND OF CHICKS CLUCKING MISERABLY FOR 10 SECONDS, THEN FADE AND HOLD UNDER SPEAKERS

MARIAM KONÉ:
Gradually, the basket empties as Soumaïla releases every chick after it receives its dose of vaccine. In the deafening noise made by chickens, turkeys, and guinea fowl, Soumaïla, with the support of his wife and his younger brother, brings the birds to get them vaccinated. The whole operation lasts about forty minutes.

MARIAM KONÉ:
But doctor, there is still some vaccine left.

MOUSSA KONÉ:
Yes. This bottle contains enough for 100 birds and the dose you should give to each bird is only one-half of a millilitre.

SOUMAÏLA DIAKITÉ:
I used two bottles for 60 birds. I think I was really making a mistake.

MARIAM KONÉ:
(TO MOUSSA KONÉ) I see that you keep your vaccines in a cooler, unlike Soumaïla’s vaccines, which are on a table in his bedroom. Is this recommended?

MOUSSA KONÉ:
Neither the conditions Soumaïla uses to preserve the vaccine, nor the dose he gave his chickens comply with the standards of veterinary care. This vaccine must be kept at eight degrees Celsius. If it is not kept at this temperature, it becomes toxic to the chickens. Instead of protecting them, it makes them sick.

Most poultry farmers refuse to vaccinate their chickens because they are convinced that it’s the vaccine that kills them. But the vaccine doesn’t kill; it’s the bad storage system and the failure to give the right dose that’s a serious threat to the birds.

I advise Soumaïla and other farmers not to listen to what non-specialists say. Veterinary services are available for all farmers. They just need to organize themselves and let us know which day suits them, so that we can come and vaccinate their birds. It is a pleasure for us.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Tell me more about Newcastle disease.

MOUSSA KONÉ:
The disease comes in three forms or types: a type which is only slightly virulent and is very common, a type which is moderately virulent, and a type which is highly virulent.

MARIAM KONÉ:
What does “virulent” mean?

MOUSSA KONÉ:
It means that it is capable of causing severe symptoms of the disease. It depends on the type of virus, the disease it causes, the way it evolves, and its consequences, for example, the number of sick birds, the number of dead birds, and the period of incubation).

In some cases, the highly virulent strain can kill many birds, even though the birds show only a few outward signs of the disease.

With the slightly virulent form, chickens can also die without showing any symptoms, other than messy feathers, wings hanging down, and lack of energy and appetite.

MARIAM KONÉ:
What about the moderately or highly virulent form? What do birds with these forms of the disease look and sound like?

MOUSSA KONÉ:
Birds with the moderately virulent form have breathing problems such as gasping, coughing, sneezing, and slight rattling noises when they breathe. Another sign is swelling of the head and neck. The birds may have greenish diarrhea, and egg production might drop sharply. Sometimes eggs are misshapen.

Birds with the highly virulent form may tremble or have convulsions. They may also have movement problems in their wings and legs, a circling walk, spasms, or paralysis. There may be greenish diarrhea, egg production may stop or be reduced, and eggs may have an unusual colour, shape, or shell.

Mortality can reach 100%. This form of Newcastle disease can be mistaken for avian flu. Avian flu is very contagious. It spreads quickly and human beings can be contaminated by sick birds or contaminated material. Human beings can die from avian flu. That is why you should report any case where there is high mortality of domestic and wild birds to the relevant authorities.

MARIAM KONÉ:
How does the disease spread?

MOUSSA KONÉ:
Newcastle disease most often spreads through direct contact with sick birds— either through contact with faeces or respiratory secretions such as mucous or saliva, or through contaminated feed, water, equipment, or human clothing.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Which treatments do you recommend?

MOUSSA KONÉ
: There is no cure for Newcastle disease. The only way to prevent it is the vaccine.

Farmers should ensure that birds are vaccinated as soon as they hatch and give them a booster dose one week later, or fifteen days at the latest. This can help immunize the birds for five or six months against Newcastle disease. The booster dose corrects primary vaccinations which failed.

Also, poultry farmers must set up effective procedures to prevent the disease from entering their farm. When the virus appears in a flock which is not in good health, farmers can be sure that all their birds will be infected within two to six days.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Moussa Koné, you have answered all my questions. Do you have any last words?

MOUSSA KONÉ:
The last thing I would tell poultry farmers is to respect the vaccination program.Chicks must be vaccinated as soon as they hatch. Then, they should receive a booster dose seven days after the first vaccine and 15 days after, and they should receive the last booster dose on the 21st day.

After vaccinating chickens the first day, we give vitamins to farmers to mix with chicks’ drinking water. Farmers must give vitamins to the chicks during the entire vaccination period.

So chicks should receive a booster dose once a week for three weeks following the first vaccine if you want them to be completely immunized against Newcastle disease. Farmers shouldnotwait for the cold period before preparing the birds. Newcastle disease is everywhere, and it can occur at any time if chickens do not receive the vaccine.”

MARIAM KONÉ:
What happens with the rest of the vaccine in the bottle? Are you going to throw it away, or …?

MOUSSA KONÉ:
No. I will go to a nearby village to vaccinate the chickens of three poultry farmers. I have to leave now. Thanks for your support. You are a good assistant! (LAUGHTER)

SFX:
SOUND OF MOTORBIKE FADING AWAY SLOWLY. SOUND OF CHICKENS PANICKING, THEN SLOWLY FADING.

MARIAM KONÉ:
Dear listeners, we were in Flaboula with our poultry farmer. To save your chickens from Newcastle disease, you must vaccinate the chicks from the first day of hatching up to the 21st day. You must also give them vitamins all through the vaccination period. Don’t forget to give them a booster dose every week, and clean and disinfect their houses regularly.

It’s very important to always ask a veterinary to vaccinate the birds, and apply all the veterinarian’s advice. This is essential if you want to save your chickens from Newcastle disease.

Thanks for your kind attention. I hope you had an excellent time listening to La voix des paysans. See you next week.

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Mariam Koné, journalist at L’Annonceur newspaper

Reviewed by: Moussa Koné, Head of Livestock Industry Unit, Local Service of Animal Products (SLPIA), Bougouni, Mali

 

Information Sources

Website of the Malian Ministry of Rural Development: www.developpementrural.gouv.ml

Interviews:

Soumaïla Diakité, poultry farmer in Flaboula village

Moussa Koné, veterinary technician

Date of interviews: September 11, 2015

 

gac-logoProject undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada (GAC)