Newcastle disease vaccination works wonders:
Here's the evidence!

Where chickens and women rule!

What price an egg a day?
Recent News:

July 2017:
Chickens for Africa - Outcome

May 2017:
Chickens for Africa

April 2017:
Vale Emeritus Professor Peter Spradbrow

February 2017:
Malawi Tour 2017

October 2016:
Farewell and best wishes to Hudson Kwamdera

September 2016:
Who are Bart Adons and Inge Roels?

July 2016:
Progress. Real progress...

Not so recent:

March 2016:
Dr Robyn Alders - another gem for progress.

November 2015:
Collaboration and spreading the word.

July 2015:
Funds and what we do with them.

June 2015:
Welcome to Luka Tumbwe.

June 2015:
Donations to RPC now tax deductible.

May 2015:
Working with others.

February 2015:
Expanding our work.

February 2015:
Gearing up in Ntchisi!

October 2014:
Doing even more in Ntchisi!

August 2014:
We are on the move in Ntchisi

May 2014:
RPC awarded a grant

Oct 2013(2):
Nali for poultry!

What's happening...

Progress. Real progress...

Recently, Bill Gates said he wants to give away 100,000 chickens to poor countries. I can only repeat what someone has already said: "You can't fault the sentiment".

Which brings me to one of my stock stories for audiences interested in assisting village poultry owners in Malawi.

Imagine two villages, each about the same size and each with a population of about 500 chickens. In one, you decide to help by donating a further 300 chickens, nice healthy chickens, and you manage to avoid all the practical pitfalls which so often dog such enterprises.

In the other, you donate no chickens at all. All you do is train a couple of people in how to vaccinate chickens against Newcastle disease. You don't give them anything much, just training and guidance. You simply set them up with the wherewithal to obtain the vaccine, to use it properly, to charge a fee so that they can buy more vaccine and put a bit in their pocket, and to continue their job after you've gone. That's all.

Then you wait a couple of years and go back to see which village has more chickens...
Vaccination training session.

You've already guessed it and you are correct. We would have seen smiles, clapping and dancing at the first village. Great for publicity but not necessarily a reflection of substantial progress. And we certainly need progress - the vast majority of village chickens in Malawi are not vaccinated.

In our work in Ntchisi, we've just found that the losses from Newcastle disease are immense. We've confirmed something we've always said: Newcastle disease is the biggest single cause of death in village chickens in this part of the world. We found that households which had not vaccinated had lost about five times as many chickens to Newcastle disease as those which had vaccinated. Next on the list was losses through predation which are particularly important for young chicks. This was all part of a small survey we did towards the end of the project, too small to hang my hat on, but of course I'm delighted that these results have generally supported what we intuitively thought was the way to go.

So we'll concentrate more on these issues and with luck soon have an impact approaching that of the Bill Gates initiative. We've vaccinated over 60,000 chickens in Ntchisi so far and that certainly represents many thousands of chickens saved.

So now just thank your lucky stars I was not born a used car salesman. I'll try to be a bit more timely with the next news item.

Pat Boland
4 July 2016