Animal Health Workers ensure healthy herds in South Sudan

In conflict-ridden South Sudan, more than half of the population depends on livestock for their livelihoods. But these pastoralists face many challenges. Public veterinary services infrastructure is dilapidated, access to animal health services is limited and diseases can wipe out entire herds. Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (VSF) promotes the Community-based Animal Health Workers (CAHW) model as a cost-efficient and locally available service offering pastoralists in remote areas access to quality animal health services. The practice helps to protect livelihoods, and improves food security and income of vulnerable populations.

In remote areas underserved by qualified veterinarians, VSF trains members of hard-to-reach and at-risk communities in good husbandry practices and basic animal health care. These trained CAHWs are able to perform a limited range of veterinary tasks and help popularize good husbandry methods to optimize animal production. This is especially important as recent conflicts and droughts have compromised crop production and vulnerable populations have been relying more than ever on livestock.

The CAHWs themselves are selected from among the livestock-keeping communities. They are equipped with basic kits and operate as mobile teams. They use solar-powered vaccine fridges and thermo-stable livestock vaccines to protect the valuable substances from the intense heat.

VSF trains the mobile and versatile CAHWs on public health and facilitates linkages with health service providers under a “One Health” approach for further basic instructions, case reporting and promotional activities to tackle concerns such as cholera epidemics in cattle camp settings. The work of the CAHWs also helps preserve ecosystems by preventing disease spreading between domestic livestock and wildlife.

In many places, CAHWs are even the only available form of animal health service. Communities where this model is implemented see:

  • reduced number of disease outbreaks;
  • reduced mortality of sick animals and mortality during crises;
  • increased productivity, milk production and fertility of animals;
  • secured income of farmers through the sale of milk and animals in good health;
  • improved food security and nutrition of livestock keeping communities;
  • better management of animal health, animal welfare and safety/hygiene of animal-sourced food.

What are the inspiring breakthroughs and success stories that illustrate SDG implementation? What are the good practices that can be replicated and scaled up? What are the gaps and constraints and how should we address them? Looking ahead, what steps should we take to accelerate progress? To help answer these and other questions, UN DESA gathered more than 600 good SDG practices in a searchable online database. Be inspired by SDG solutions that work:

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