A national animal vaccine program is still not running effectively despite the government allocating $40,000 annually to purchase medicines due to a lack of community participation, according to National MP Josefa Alvares Pereira.

MP Alves said despite being a program it needs better socialisation.

The objective of the program is to prevent diseases that infect animals like pigs, buffaloes and chickens, including Septicemia Epizootica, cholera and Newcastle disease (NCD).

Pereira said although it was a good program, but the government needed to continue raising awareness among communities to increase their knowledge about the importance of animal health.

“Because animal diseases may infect people and according to Timorese tradition, when animal get a disease and die, we consume the meat and sell it to others,” she said.

To ensure the program ran smoothly, he said it was important to involve the communities so that they were aware of how to treat animals.

However, the Ministry of Agriculture’s General Director for Livestock and Veterinary Medicine, Antonio do Carmo, acknowledged that efforts to raise awareness in communities was still inadequate due to the lack of human resources.

“We have provided training to 2000 volunteers from 222 sukus (villages) to help provide vaccines to animals,” he said.

He said the ministry had also placed animal health specialists in the districts to implement the animal vaccine program, as well as raise awareness and provide training to communities.

According to the 2020 national strategic plan, the government has an obligation to provide free vaccines and treatment to animals and therefore funding has been allocated for the purchase of medicines.

Although some bacteria living inside an animal’s body was not contagious to humans, he said it was better not to consume meat from an infected animal.


He said vaccines were provided three times per year, particularly during March, February and November.