Delivery of animal health services in extensive livestock systems in Kenya

Access to animal health services in many developing countries is limited. This is especially serious for livestock keepers in remote areas such as most pastoralists. The constraint to access is due to biophysical, social and economic factors such as vast yet sparsely populated areas, the transhumant/nomadic nature of livestock keeping, poor infrastructure leading to high delivery costs, few technical personnel willing to work in the generally hostile and often insecure pastoral environments, a lack of support structures including credit and markets and high levels of poverty. Recent advances in ICT have created new opportunities for innovative ways to improve delivery of animal health services in the extensive livestock systems. The objective of this study was to evaluate new two approaches that could improve access to animal health services in three counties practicing pastoral livestock production in Northern Kenya. The first approach involved partnership between the public sector and a private animal health service provider in the delivery of vaccines and curative animal health services. The second approach was a regular mobile veterinary service by private animal health service providers through areas of high animal concentrations such as livestock markets and watering points to provide the full range of animal health services. Results indicate that both approaches are economically viable and can greatly improve access of animal health services under pastoral settings. Upscaling of the first approach depends on a legal basis for the partnership to guide the collaboration and sharing of resources. For the mobile veterinary service, there was positive perception by pastoralists on knowledge of services and products, availability of services, quality of the services, affordability and willingness to pay. The model was not profitable for the private sector, because of the legal restrictions on the types of services offered, and high transport costs but there is great potential if the policy constraints are addressed.