There’s an intriguing article on an African website (Ghana News Agency.org) which discusses an attempt, in a large region of Ghana called Brong-Ahafo, to increase the number of domestic cat vaccinations. The project has failed. The target was 10% of all cats to be vaccinated which I have to say seems like a low target. And the veterinary fee for a pet vaccination is also low by Western standards at 10 Ghanian cedis (about $1.80).
In Ghana, for the last four years the vaccination rate has been just over 4%. In the UK, I believe that the vaccination rate is around 72%. Although of those cat owners who do vaccinate their cats, they do not do it annually and therefore the cats are technically under-vaccinated. Surprisingly, it’s hard to find out the vaccination rate in the USA, on the internet. However, I would expect it to be high perhaps higher than that in the UK.
The very low vaccination rate of domestic cats in Ghana (and this may be representative of the rest of Africa) provides us with a little insight into how Ghanaians relate to their domestic cat companions. The reason given for the low vaccination rate according to Dr Denueme, the Regional Director of the Veterinary Service Department, is apathy among cat owners in paying the vaccination fee combined with inadequate funding of the regional office of the Veterinary Service Department.
I’m not completely clear what this means but I will presume that he is saying that the government is not doing enough to promote vaccinations amongst domestic animals and the fee is a barrier. The minimum wage in Ghana is about two US dollars per day on one source and another source tells me that it it’s about the equivalent of six US dollars per day. I would have thought that the equivalent of $1.80 for a vaccination at a local veterinarian is not overly expensive for the average Ghanaian. It shouldn’t be a barrier, that’s my point. Or perhaps they could introduce discount services, part government funded.
P.S. There appears to be a loose relationship between cat and owner in Ghana and I’d expect many cats to be community cats. This relationship would discourage vaccination. It is very hard to find photos of domestic cats in Ghana using Google Images which gives me a clue as to cat domestication in that country.
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