Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) Managing Director, Andrew Madeswi has revealed that they are working with government to come up with a solution to deal with the bont tick infestations in the eastern panhandle of the Okavango Delta which led to farmers loosing over 2000 cattle.
BVI was established in response to outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) that spread throughout the Northern parts of Botswana in the 1970s.
Since its inception, the institute has played an important role as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) regional reference laboratory for FMD for Sub Saharan Africa. With an annual export of vaccine to over 15 countries in Africa, these countries have been using BVI vaccines for their national annual disease control programs for decades.
In an interview, Madeswi revealed that the solution will be launched very soon as they appreciate how devastating the tick is to the livestock farmers in Okavango.
He said coming up with the solution for bont tick is in relation with the Institute’s diversification from FMD vaccines as part of its portfolio of diversification and growth.
“Coming up with solutions for Bont tick is related to our core business, very soon you will hear about the launch of a solution to the disease since we have been engaging with the government and giving guidance where it is necessary,” Madeswi revealed.
Madeswi further indicated that BVI has expanded its mandate into becoming global player providing sustainable animal health solutions. He noted that they will continue leading the fight in unlocking Botswana’s vast livestock potential threat by preventing livestock diseases that have for many years hampered growth of the sector.
Meanwhile BVI recently hosted a Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEAM) satellite commemoration at Shakawe Junior School with an aim to boost the interest of young people in the area to venture into problem solving careers.
Held under the theme, ‘Leveraging STEAM education for socio-economic development,’ the commemoration was a significant platform to reach out to young people from as far as Shakawe.
In his keynote address, Okavango nominated councilor Molatlhegi Moyeyi appreciated BVI for its effort to reach remote areas and commended the public to join forces in creating learners’ interest in the Maths, Science and Technology subjects as that will create a pool of future Scientists, Technologists, Engineers, Artists and Mathematicians.
Moyeyi further called for students to start working on their STEAM subjects at a younger age to pave way for their future related careers. The councilor further said BVI’s presence in the Okavango District is giving him hope that the institute will bring an end to Bont tick which has devastated farmers in the area.
At the end BVI donated various laboratory reagents to the school laboratory for science subjects and toiletries for the less privilege including school shoes and sanitary pads. The STEAM satellite event was sponsored by the Ministry of Communications, Knowledge and Technology.