Climate Variability Effects on Vector-Borne Livestock Diseases in Narok South Sub-County, Narok County, Kenya
Onyango, Kennedy Bwire
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Variability in climate has in recent decades caused adverse impacts on natural and human systems all over the world. Based on the most recent available projections, Kenya will be severely threatened by the direct and indirect impact of climate variability, most of which is likely to accelerate in the coming decades. When such calamities occur, the livelihood of pastoral communities is negatively affected and their economies dwindle mainly because of loss of livestock which is their main source of income. The study assessed the effect of climate variability and the associated vector-borne diseases on livestock in Narok South Sub-County from 1980 to 2010. The study period was associated with high prevalence of vector-borne diseases hence the need to understand the cause and impacts. Objectives of the study were: to analyse the trends of droughts and floods in Narok County; to assess the relationship between rainfall patterns and vector-borne livestock diseases and to analyse the perceived impacts of climate variability by pastoral communities in Narok South Sub-County from 1980 to 2010. The study worked with the hypothesis that the cases of selected vector-borne diseases had no significant relationship with rainfall patterns over the study period. It adopted a descriptive research design and used stratified random sampling; Stratum 1 comprised of Segamian, Sagoo, Melelo and Ololunga Wards that are agro-pastoral zones and stratum 2, comprised of Loita and Maji moto Wards that are mainly pastoral zones. Structured questionnaires were administered to 397 households while 36 key informants from relevant institutions were interviewed. Data was statistically analysed and the correlation results showed that other than Heartwater (p= 0.402), r=0.011 and N=38), other vector-borne diseases had a weak relationship with the amount of rainfall received. Nonetheless, there was some small relationship between graphical plots with cases of diseases either decreasing or increasing with corresponding decrease or increase of rainfall. According to the Chi-square analysis, there was a strong statistically significant difference between the two strata on the impact of floods and rainfall (floods: χ2= 24.902, df=3, p=0.000 and rainfall χ2=41.230, df= 3, p=0.000). The study revealed an increase in cases of most of the vector-borne diseases over the study period and attributes the increase to climate variability. The study recommends that development institutions should partner with the county and national government to create awareness on climate variability, build capacity to appropriate adaptation interventions and put in place contingency plans to enhance pastoral communities’ preparedness for the reoccurrence of the excessively heavy rainfall and droughts. Integration of indigenous knowledge in development of policies and institutional frameworks is also recommended.