The Union of Veterinary Practitioners of Kenya (UVPK) has called on the government to include their members in the list of the essential services that are curfew-exempt.
Through a barrage of social media posts, UVPK shared that most of their staff have been caught on the wrong side of the law while they are on duty and some are injured.
“How can Police in Eldoret Central Police Station arrest a Veterinary Surgeon coming from performing Ceasarian Section to a cow that developed Difficulty in Calving (Dystocia) this evening? Should we allow animals to suffer during Curfew? Is Kenya Police aware that @) Veterinary Services is Part of Health Services? (b) that Corona Virus crossed from Animals? We demand the immediate release of the said Doctor!!! This is a matter that has been raised before. Veterinary Services is essential since it’s disruption will result into more zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, Rift Valley Fever, Ebola, Marburg, Hanta Virus, Avian Influenza, Swine Flu, Lassa Fever, Anthrax etc”, UVPK wrote
The Kenya Government announced a dusk to dawn curfew on the 25th of March 2020, listing some essential services that are exempt from the lockdown. The list had to be amended at least once before being gazetted.
UVPK is still pushing for its members to be allowed to carry out their duties as it is also crucial in the overall food chain. The UVPK also laments that the government has forgotten that there are other diseases affecting animals that need the same attention as coronavirus.
Corona viruses are just one of the zoonotic pathogens. We should continue keeping a watch on the diseases mentioned hereunder. Note that all of them are of animal origin @DonaldBKipkorir @OmbetaC @MOH_Kenya @WHOKenya https://t.co/LvrUc6Hc2P— UNION OF VETERINARY PRACTITIONERS, KENYA (UVPK) (@vet_unionKE) March 28, 2020
“Animals don’t choose the times to become sick. Remember these are part of peoples families as pets and livelihoods. You can not abandon a patient in need because it’s 10 minutes to curfew and what if you have clients across the restricted zones? What happens?”, UVPK posed.
President Uhuru Kenyatta, while announcing the lockdown on Monday, mentioned that traders and farmers are encouraged to ‘continue with their agricultural activities, so as to ensure the continued supply of the farm produce to our markets”. UVPK believes that the food chain involved meat products and as such Veterinarians must be included in the curfew-exempt list.