Protecting Livestock. Improving Human Lives

Livestock vaccinations translate into increased human capital and school attendance by girls

Author: Thomas L. Marsh, Jonathan Yoder, Tesfaye Deboch, Terry F. McElwain, Guy H. Palmer

Year: 2016

About this Publication:

To fulfill the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is useful to understand whether and how specific agricultural interventions improve human health, educational opportunity, and food security. In sub-Saharan Africa, 75% of the population is engaged in small-scale farming, and 80% of these households keep livestock, which represent a critical asset and provide protection against economic shock. For the 50 million pastoralists, livestock play an even greater role. Livestock productivity for pastoralist households is constrained by multiple factors, including infectious disease. East Coast fever, a tick-borne protozoal disease, is the leading cause of calf mortality in large regions of eastern and Southern Africa. We examined pastoralist decisions to adopt vaccination against East Coast fever and the economic outcomes of adoption. Our estimation strategy provides an integrated model of adoption and impact that includes direct effects of vaccination on livestock health and productivity outcomes, as well as indirect effects on household expenditures, such as child education, food, and health care. On the basis of a cross-sectional study of Kenyan pastoralist households, we found that vaccination provides significant net income benefits from reduction in livestock mortality, increased milk production, and savings by reducing antibiotic and acaricide treatments. Households directed the increased income resulting from East Coast fever vaccination into childhood education and food purchase. These indirect effects of livestock vaccination provide a positive impact on rural, livestock dependent families, contributing to poverty alleviation at the household level and more broadly to achieving SDGs.

Grant: PLSHL2

Subject Areas: Gender, Policy and Advocacy

Diseases: East Coast Fever


Gender, ECF vaccine, East Coast Fever, Kenya, infection and treatment method



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