ISLAMABAD: The World Bank is expected to approve $30 million for Pakistan to launch a comprehensive programme to control the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) that has invaded the country’s livestock a few months ago.

The World Bank agreed to the government’s request to utilise the undisbursed funds against the loan of $200 million that was approved for the locust control project, claimed an official of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research while speaking to Dawn.

Since locust has been brought under control and there is no such threat in the near future, the government requested the World Bank to use the funds for LSD control programme.

Negotiations with the World Bank are at an advance stage, and a formal project document will soon be shared with the bank that has already evaluated the situation arising out of the LSD spreading in livestock, according to the official.

World Bank agrees to allow utilisation of undisbursed funds against $200m loan for locust control, official says

The official said the ministry sent a summary to the Economic Coordination Committee of the federal cabinet to declare emergency to tackle the spread of LSD in livestock. The ministry also requested the finance ministry to approve Rs700 million on an urgent basis for the purchase of vaccine.

Highest cases in Sindh

Statistics of LSD cases in Pakistan show the highest number of cases have been reported from Sindh, followed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Balochistan. However, the rate of recovery of animals is also quite encouraging.

Pakistan has a total of 41,550,921 cattle population, out of which 152,270 cases were reported while 118,765 animals were recovered and 4,081 animals died of LSD. According to the latest data, 6,860,659 animals have so far been vaccinated and the mortality rate is 0.0098 per cent and morbidity rate 0.366 per cent.

Sindh had 53,668 cases followed by 46,343 cases in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 23,683 cases in Punjab, 22,225 cases in Balochistan and 6,351 cases in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Data for Gilgit-Baltistan was not available.

The Food and Agriculture Organ­ization (FAO) of the United Nations had warned the invasion of LSD on the country’s livestock that had emerged from Africa and infected animals in West Asia and Southwest Europe. The lumpy skin virus causes only in cattle and buffalo.

The ministry of national food security and research, in a statement on Wednesday, said that LSD has no public health implications, because the virus that caused the disease in cattle did not affect humans.

Boiled milk and well-cooked meat from the affected cattle are safe for human consumption.

The ministry stated the Animal Husbandry Commissioner had already issued guidelines to the provinces that included information for the awareness of farmers and professionals related to the livestock. The government has already allowed the import of LSD vaccine for effective control in the country.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2022

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