Impact assessment of a community-based animal health service program in northern Malawi : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Veterinary Studies (Epidemiology)
Many community-based animal health services have been established in developing
countries. There are a large number of publications and references describing these services
but only a few researchers have attempted a quantitative analysis of the components and
benefits of such programs.
The Basic Animal Health Service (BAHS) Project/GTZ in northern Malawi was established
in 1989 and will finish its activities in 2003. An Impact Assessment was implemented
during the BAHS field consolidation in 1996/97. The goal was to verify the effectiveness of
the scheme and to demonstrate the benefits farmers obtain by using BAHS would pay.
A series of studies were conducted. In Chapter I the characteristics of community-based
livestock service programs are described and an overview of different international projects
is provided. In addition, the background and philosophy of BAHS is explained and the
traditional way of livestock keeping portrayed.
In Chapter II data of a representative livestock population survey for the study area is
analyzed. The results provide evidence that more households keep various species of
livestock than official data would suggest. An attempt is made to evaluate the link of
income status and livestock ownership of the rural people.
The results of a cross-sectional study involving 96 users, 96 part-users and 96 non-users of
the scheme are presented in Chapter III. The findings suggest that users owned larger
numbers of livestock, were better educated and more open towards new methods compared
to their fellow part- and non-users.
Results of interviews with 42 village keymen (KM) and 84 veterinary assistants (VA), who
are the key players in service delivery, are analyzed in Chapter IV. Additional information
about their visit and treatment patterns are included. The foremost trend emerging from this
data was the overall job satisfaction for both, KM and VA, which is a solid basis for further
expanding the scheme.
Chapter V contains the results of a longitudinal study. All 288 farms visited for the crosssectional
study were monitored in regard to their livestock performances and husbandry
applications between July 1997 and February 1999. The results show that users of BAHS
had higher off-take rates in cattle, maintained more stable herds of ruminants and that their
livestock mortality was lower compared to both of the other groups. Users also applied a
range of livestock husbandry and management measures more frequently than part- and
non-users. During concluding interviews in January and February 1999, BAHS-users felt
significantly more positive about the past year in terms of livestock health and production
compared to both of the other groups.
Chapter VI presents the results of the economic analysis of the BAHS-scheme. Partial
budget and cost benefit analysis are applied by using a spreadsheet model. Different
farming levels were modeled. Users achieved higher net returns from livestock production
compared to part- and non-users. It is assessed that the regional gross benefit farmers obtain
through livestock production annually amounts to US$ 45 Mio with BAHS and US$ 44 Mio
without, respectively. Different models were applied to evaluate the impact of an increased
density in BAHS usage.
The main challenge for the BAHS-program lies in intensified field extension, better support
for village keymen and veterinary assistants and a significant increase of involvement of
very poor households.