A survey of the usage and storage practices of veterinary medicines among communal cattle farmers in the Kabbe South Constituency, Zambezi region.
Veterinary medicines are an indispensable tool for animal disease control and prevention. Misuse, improper handling and storage can render veterinary medicines less effective. A cross-sectional study was carried out on 60 cattle farmers in the Kabbe South Constituency of the Zambezi region in Namibia. The objective of the study was to find out the usage and storage practices of veterinary medicines. Selected farmers were interviewed using semi-structured questionnaires. Results of the study showed that the majority of respondents were males (78.3%, n=47) with at least primary school level education. Overall, farmers acquired and used 13 different types of veterinary medicines from licensed shops and pharmacies (73.4%, n=44), the state veterinary office (23.3%, n=14) and from unregistered veterinary medicine agents (3.3%, n=2). The medicines comprised of antibiotics (n=4); vaccines (n=3); combination of ectoparasiticide and anthelmintic (n=2), ectoparasiticide (n=1), anthelmintic (n=1) and vitamins (n=2). Although 36.7% (n=22) of the farmers owned or had access to a refrigerator, the majority (86.7%, n=52) did not maintain the cold chain. Most of the respondents (93.3%, n=56) self-diagnosed animal diseases and decided on the treatment without consulting a veterinarian. Oxytetracycline was the most commonly used veterinary medicine and was used at less than the recommended dose of 1ml/10kg by most respondents (83.3%, n=50). Although farmers sourced veterinary medicines from licensed retailers, the break in the cold chain and the under dosing of medicines may impair effectiveness. Self-diagnosis and treatment of animal diseases promotes misuse and the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in cattle which may render antibiotics on the market less effective. The training of all stakeholders along the veterinary medicine value chain in the region is recommended.