The Rwanda Agriculture Board, in conjunction with the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources, has launched a vaccination program focusing on the eradication of previously neglected poultry diseases, such as Newcastle disease.

In the last five years, Newcastle disease has taken over 1.5 million birds in Rwanda, costing farmers there  US$13.6 million. Poultry farmers will now have their birds vaccinated against the disease in accordance with the program. "Apart from vaccinating, we shall also go down to grass root farmers to encourage and sensitize them on the best practices of poultry, as well as measures to be taken so as to increase on their profitability," said Dr. Vianney Otto Muhinda, director of veterinary services at the RAB.

The pilot project is starting out with 3 million doses of the vaccine and a target of 1.5 million farmers, but the government has plans to increase the scope of benefits, according to project planners.