Animal health problems that effect cattle and buffalo in TL include internal and external parasites, brucellosis and haemorrhagic septicaemia. Government and external agencies pay significant attention to animal health through vaccination5 , disease surveillance and treatment, the development of the national laboratory, the development of Animal Health Centres, the training of vets and various regulations. Animal health is seen as a public service, but the GoTL is seeking to develop private sector delivery systems.
As could be expected in a fledgling country, there are major challenges in building an effective animal health and veterinary system. There are, for example, difficulties in buying, importing, distributing and applying vaccines (especially with poor cattle handling facilities). Donor-designed systems of fostering market-based animal health services – including training of “Village Livestock Workers” provide services for a fee, and outlets for basic veterinary products – have not been successful. While farmers are clearly concerned about animal diseases and the associated mortalities and low performance, they are generally not willing to pay for these services. It is likely that many animal health problems are symptomatic of poor basic animal husbandry practices including under-nutrition, lack of water and poor pen hygiene.
5 The GoTL (with donors) has begun a vaccination program free to farmers for pigs (cholera or classical swine fever), chickens (Newcastle Disease) and cattle (Haemorrhagic Septicaemia). There are mixed reports of vaccination coverage rates for cattle from 60-80% (Valera, 2014) to 30-40% (Ministry of Economy and Development) to 35% (SPVD Oecussi, personal communication) but aim to reach 80%. The state does training on brucellosis detection and treatment, but do not vaccinate against it.