Notes to broadcasters
Raising cattle is the main activity for herders in villages in the department of Noun in the western region of Cameroon. But raising cattle faces several problems. During the eight month long dry season, fresh grass is scarce. Animals are forced to travel long distances to feed. The few patches of grass available have already been grazed by other cattle, who have left their manure and urine for future growth of forages. The little bit of grass remaining is often scattered with larvae from internal parasites that can pass on to future grazing cattle. (The parasites are called larvae when they are in a young, immature stage of growth.)
In its fight against poverty, the government is making efforts to help the population. Government departments in Noun organize vaccination campaigns at least four times per year. These campaigns limit the exposure of cattle to contamination. Once infected, the negative effects are enormous. Sometimes farmers can lose a third of their livestock.
This script is based on a conversation between three main characters: a radio host, a cattle breeder and a veterinarian. You can adjust the script to suit your needs. You can also replace the characters and places to reflect those in your community.
This script is based on actual interviews. You could use this script as inspiration to research and write a script on a similar topic in your area. Or you might choose to produce this script on your station, 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.
Hello, dear friends and listeners! We are in the middle of the savanna in front of an enclosure where oxen are vaccinated. The village of Didango is located twenty kilometres from the city of Foumban. Foumban is in the department of Noun, in the Western Region of Cameroon. Domestic animals are the main source of livelihood for 90% of the people in Didango. The farmers in this community mostly raise oxen. That is why it is especially important to look at roundworms as a source of infectious disease.
Here in Didango, herder Baba Abdou’s cattle are gathered in an enclosure where veterinarian Issofa Mkpoumie is working. Every time the veterinarian vaccinates or gives another treatment to a cow, the herder brands it in order to identify which cattle have already been treated.
Dear listeners, to discuss this matter further, we are joined by the breeder and the veterinarian. You are listening to a special edition of our program, which is entitled “Nfuse ne pata’a,” which means “the richness of the land and livestock.” We hope that our listeners will benefit from veterinarian Issofa Mkpoumie’s advice and the experience of their fellow herder, Baba Abdou. Of course, the best advice for herders can only come from herders themselves.
Hello Baba Abdou. Hello Issofa Mkpoumie. So, Mr. Abdou, what can you tell us about roundworms?
Roundworms are almost invisible to the naked eye. But we can see their effects on livestock through loss of appetite, loss of weight, and unusual behaviour. An example of unusual behaviour is the animals refusing to travel long distances because they have become weak. To cure these symptoms, we give them concoctions of herbs and other plants. But the results are not always good. Sometimes we don’t use the appropriate dose or the natural treatments aren’t very effective against the worms.That is why we sometimes use modern products such as Vermifuge 2000 andIvermectin.
Mr. Veterinarian, what can you tell us about roundworms?
Cattle graze without attention to the tiny larval creatures they swallow and which infect them with adult internal parasites. When these parasites are in a young, immature stage of growth, they are called larvae. These infections are more common when their forages have been contaminated with the dung of infected animals. That’s how roundworms are introduced in the bodies of our animals. Our animals also come into contact with roundworms by drinking from rivers that are polluted by cattle manure upstream.
: How do herders treat roundworms?
: They try to prevent roundworm infection by following hygiene rules established by veterinarians. For example, herders should always release animals after sunrise, when the sunshine has dried the morning dew from the grass. This reduces the number of larvae that stick to the grass. When we notice that animals have been infected, we give them a pill called Levacip Bolus.
: How do you give the animals the pill?
: At night, when the cattle are in the enclosure, we catch each animal and give them the large pill, which is called a bolus, through the mouth with a bolus gun. It’s a difficult task when there is a large herd.
Can roundworms be transmitted to humans?
Honestly, I’m not sure what kinds of diseases they can cause in the human body.However, we advise that meat be thoroughly cooked to avoid all risks.
Apart from the potential risks of contamination through poorly cooked meat, people should also avoid handling livestock urine and feces in order to avoid other organisms living in the cattle’s digestive system.
Do you have any advice for your fellow breeders?
Remain vigilant. Check your animals daily for any abnormalities, such as a refusal to travel long distances. If you find anything, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. The health of your cattle depends on it. I urge oxen herders to strictly follow vaccination schedules in order to protect their livestock. Please contact us as soon as you discover any abnormalities.
: I will now ask questions to the Maloum, who is first a farmer and also a spiritual healer!
Mr. Journalist, you ask too many questions!
Now, it is my turn to ask questions.
The belief that animals can be cursed. Many farmers still believe that if their cattle are sick, it must be because an enemy has cast a spell on them. These traditional practices may not be as common as in the past, but unfortunately they continue to worry some herders, who very often tell me: “I am sure that the loss of my animals is not only related to disease. My growing herd has certainly created jealousy.Please help me get my revenge.”
Maloum, you are a breeder. Do you have any message to your fellow breeders?
Dear fellow breeders: Ignorance is really what makes us unable to improve over time. It occupies the same position as the buttocks, always behind. Please, let’s stop believing that bewitchment is harming our animals! Instead, if there is something wrong with our animals, let’s go see a veterinarian.
Mr. Veterinarian, what do you want to say to that?
I think every farmer should take their responsibilities seriously. We are here to serve you. Please, do not wait for the worst to happen, and then look for scapegoats.
Indeed, in life, if there is something that must be avoided, it is ignorance. Once again, I want to thank my friend Maloum for reminding us of a major problem. Today, we have discussed cattle diseases in general, with a special focus on roundworms. If you followed us, do not forget to tell others what you have learned. Until we meet again next week, good-bye.
- Contributed by: Josue Yaneya, Radio Communautaire du Noun, Foumban, Cameroon, a Farm Radio International broadcasting partner.
- Reviewed by: Terry S. Wollen, Director of Livestock Advocacy, Heifer International.