Participatory Epidemiology of Endemic Diseases in West African Cattle – Ethnoveterinary and Bioveterinary Knowledge in Fulani Disease Control

Ayodele Majekodunmi, Charles Dongkum, Christopher Idehen, Dachung Tok Langs, Susan Welburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fulani pastoralists in Nigeria lack adequate access to good quality veterinary services and often resort to treating their animals themselves. There are several negative aspects to this, including poor treatment outcomes, misuse of veterinary drugs and subsequent resistance, and further barriers to good relations between pastoralists and veterinary services. A participatory epidemiology survey was undertaken in Fulani communities, to examine their ability to diagnose and treat bovine diseases. Qualitative participatory epidemiology techniques including semi-structured interviews, ranking and participant and non-participant observations were used for data collection. Quantitative analysis to match Fulani disease descriptions to veterinary diseases was done by hierarchical clustering and multi-dimensional scaling. A concurrent parasitological survey for soil-transmitted parasites, trypanosomiasis and tick-borne diseases was undertaken to validate results.

Fulani pastoralists displayed high levels of ethnoveterinary knowledge and good clinical diagnostic abilities. Diseases considered important by pastoralists included: hanta (CBPP); sammore (trypanosomiasis); boro (foot and mouth disease), gortowel (liver fluke), dauda (parasitic gastro-enteritis with bloody diarrhoea) and susa (parasitic gastro-enteritis). The parasitology survey supported the participatory epidemiology results but also showed a high prevalence of tick-borne diseases that were not mentioned by pastoralists in this study. The use of “hanta” to describe CBPP is important as the accepted translation is liver-fluke (hanta is the Hausa word for liver). Gortowel and dauda, two previously undescribed Fulfulde disease names have now been matched to liver fluke and PGE with bloody diarrhoea. Fulani showed low levels of bovine veterinary knowledge with mostly incorrect veterinary drugs chosen for treatment. Levels of ethno- and bio-veterinary knowledge and their application within pastoralist livestock healthcare practices are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-56
JournalOne Health
Early online date27 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


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