Kenya's Turkana people - once threatened with extinction as virulent disease swept through their livestock - are now thriving again after a number of "roaming vets" came to their aid, the BBC World Service's Health Matters programme has found.
The Turkana are now thriving
The Turkana's pastoral way of life - being continually on the move to find fresh grass and water for their animals - meant that for years they were beyond the reach of conventional veterinary care.
The threat of the cattle plague, rinderpest, was never far away.
When the virus was imported from Europe to sub-Saharan Africa a century ago, it swept across the continent killing millions of cattle.
As a result, many starved - and particularly affected were roaming tribes such as the Turkana who are entirely dependent on their livestock as the source of virtually all their food (milk, blood and meat), wealth, property and social standing.
The threat has never gone away.
"Livestock keepers are not neglected by the national authorities, but by the nature of the terrain, it's very difficult to access national veterinary services," explains explains Dr Jotham Musiime, director of the African Union's animal health organisation, AU-Ibar.
But now a group of home-grown "roaming vets" - Turkana men and woman trained to give basic animal health care to the livestock of their own communities - has greatly reduced the problems facing the Turkana.
Dr Darlington Akabwai, a Ugandan field vet for the Community Animal Health and Participatory Epidemiology (Cape) Unit of AU-Ibar, and Francis Anor, a Turkana animal health technician, are two of the key men behind the programme.
Dr Darlington is behind the rinderpest vaccine campaign
Dr Akabwai has worked on and off with the Turkana pastoralists for more than 20 years, training selected men and women to become mobile "para-vets" - more formally known as community-based animal health workers (CHWs).
"The drugs used to be very far away from them, but now the availability and quality is certain", Dr Akabwai said.
CHWs get one month's training and then regular, frequent supervision in basic primary animal care.
"The CHWs visit livestock in various areas, do vaccinations, and give drugs to assist livestock who are in problems," explains a Turkana elder.
The CHWs first task was delivery of the rinderpest vaccine.
Dr Akabwai believes that the pastoralists' skill in adapting to modern veterinary techniques stems from their traditional expertise.
The Turkana are dependent on their livestock
The Turkana have their own rich veterinary knowledge system.
"Before we were exposed to modern methods, we treated out livestock with traditional medicines," explained one tribesman.
"They work, but the modern drugs are more effective."
And as well as knowledge, the Turkana's culture of mobility is a great advantage - CHWs are have visiting rounds few conventional vets would contemplate.
Ultimately, the benefit of this is felt throughout Kenya.
Elimination of deadly viruses affecting livestock has improved the country's export status.
With these kinds of activities going on elsewhere in Africa, Africa's rinderpest problem is finally beginning to be brought under control.