Increasing livestock production to meet growing demands has resulted in greater interactions at the livestock–wildlife–human interface and more opportunities for zoonotic disease spread. Zoonoses impose enormous burdens on low-income countries like Nepal, where populations are largely dependent on livestock production and access to shared grazing lands, often near protected areas, due to population pressures. Several livestock-associated zoonoses have been reported in Nepal; however, little is known regarding Nepali farmers’ knowledge of zoonoses and opportunities for disease management. We conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate Nepali farmers’ awareness of zoonoses, assess current health challenges, and evaluate disease prevention and control practices. We found that awareness of zoonotic pathogens was limited, especially in informally educated and illiterate farmers; the majority of which were women. Further, farmers’ preventive herd health, food safety, and sanitation practices were not associated with their awareness. Several farmers reported high-risk practices despite being aware of zoonotic diseases, suggesting a disconnect between the farmers’ awareness and practice. Our study highlights the need for improving Nepali farmers’ knowledge of zoonoses and disease prevention measures. Closing these awareness-practice gaps will require an improved understanding of risk and effective drivers of behavior change, alongside engagement of farmers in development of zoonotic disease prevention programs that encourage participation of both male and female farmers across all levels of education.
EcoHealth – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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