Farmer drug use in the Kumasi poultry industry

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The grouping of large numbers of poultry in small areas and the intensive management of such systems exert a lot of stress on the birds. This renders the birds susceptible to diseases. Even though drugs on their own are not sufficient to guarantee good health, no meaningful poultry can exist without drugs. As a result of their addition to poultry feed or their use to treat infections, poultry drugs may be present in poultry tissues consumed as food. The risk associated with chemical residues in food consumed by the public has increased in developing countries alongside the adoption of poultry technology from developed countries. In Ghana, poultry production is fairly well organized and has specialized and integrated into industrial complexes. Several private farms located mainly in the pen-urban areas of Kumasi, Accra and Cape Coats dominate the modern poultry sector. In 1987, it was estimated that this sector produced 58,000 eggs and 6,500 tons of meat. Commercial poultry is an important economic activity in and around Kumasi. Routine data from drug houses and the Animal Health Service indicate that the Kumasi poultry industry consumes a large amount of drugs. Some of these drugs may have strong residual effects and constitute a public health hazard. The problem is non-compliance of poultry farmers in the use of these drugs. Do farmers respect the dosage, route of administration and particularly the withdrawal period recommended for these drugs? The logistic cycle for drug management consists of four main functions namely, selection, procurement, distribution and use. Drug use in poultry is influenced by the prescriber, the dispenser and the farmer whose compliance is being questioned. Non-adherence to recommended withdrawal times would lead to residues in poultry and poultry products. Drug use problems are solved through a combination of regulations, management and education. This study was designed to assess the extent of compliance by farmers in drug use with the view to discussing the associated health risks to the consumer. The study was cross sectional. Qualitative and quantitative methods were used to assess the extent of farmer compliance. The study population comprised health professionals, veterinarians, veterinary drug houses and poultry farmers. Non-structured interviews were held with the health professionals, veterinarians and the drug houses. Person-to-person interviews were held with the farmers. This study showed that drugs are available from legal and illegal sources. The level of drug use is high. The most important finding was that farmers do not comply with withdrawal period requirements. Farmers are aware of the harmful effects in humans caused by drug residues. The study recommends that animal health outreach services should be provided to support farmers and to monitor on-farm drug use. There is the need to regularize the importation, sale and use of poultry drugs. Farmers would welcome health education sessions on drug use. Finally, the study recommends that further studies be undertaken to measure the actual levels of residue in poultry and poultry products as per WHO/FAQ standards.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science in Health Services Planning and Management, 2000
Drug Management, Farmer Drug use, Withdrawal period, Poultry, Public Health