Helping a Community Survive a Drought

NEGELE, Ethiopia (September 7,  2011) - U.S. Army Staff Sargeant Chris Nestor, 490th Civil Affairs Battalion Functional Specialty Team veterinary technician assists Community Animal Health Worker Mohammed Isaq with a bottle of penicillin and a syringe intended to treat a donkey with an infection during a Veterinary Civic Action Program in Negele, Ethiopia August 23, 2011. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Captain Jennifer Pearson) CJTF-HOA Photo NEGELE, Ethiopia (September 7, 2011) - U.S. Army Staff Sargeant Chris Nestor, 490th Civil Affairs Battalion Functional Specialty Team veterinary technician assists Community Animal Health Worker Mohammed Isaq with a bottle of penicillin and a syringe intended to treat a donkey with an infection during a Veterinary Civic Action Program in Negele, Ethiopia August 23, 2011. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Captain Jennifer Pearson)
NEGELE, Ethiopia (September 7,  2011) - Animal Health Assistant  Boru Cherfole (center) injects a cow with diminazen to treat trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), while Community Animal Health Workers draw up a multivitamin injection during an eight  day Veterinary Civic Action Program August 23, 2011, in Negele Ethiopia.  They are wearing masks to protect them from the blowing dirt and dust. (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Jennifer Pearson) CJTF-HOA Photo NEGELE, Ethiopia (September 7, 2011) - Animal Health Assistant Boru Cherfole (center) injects a cow with diminazen to treat trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), while Community Animal Health Workers draw up a multivitamin injection during an eight day Veterinary Civic Action Program August 23, 2011, in Negele Ethiopia. They are wearing masks to protect them from the blowing dirt and dust. (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Jennifer Pearson)
NEGELE, Ethiopia (September 7,  2011) - Doctor Dejene Taye and two Community Animal Health Workers treat a severe wound on the back of a donkey while U.S. Army Corporal Daniel DiVincenzo helps keep the animal still during a Veterinary Civic Action Program August 23, 2011 in Negele Ethiopia.  U.S. Army CPT Jill Lynn and SSG Chris Nestor observe how Dr. Dejene cleans and treats the wound. (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Jennifer Pearson) CJTF-HOA Photo NEGELE, Ethiopia (September 7, 2011) - Doctor Dejene Taye and two Community Animal Health Workers treat a severe wound on the back of a donkey while U.S. Army Corporal Daniel DiVincenzo helps keep the animal still during a Veterinary Civic Action Program August 23, 2011 in Negele Ethiopia. U.S. Army CPT Jill Lynn and SSG Chris Nestor observe how Dr. Dejene cleans and treats the wound. (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Jennifer Pearson)
NEGELE, Ethiopia (September 7,  2011) - U.S. Army Captain Jill Lynn, the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion functional specialty team veterinarian,  and Community Animal Health Worker Mohammed Isaq, second from the left, work together to treat a young camel during an eight  day Veterinary Civic Action Program in Negele, Ethiopia August 23, 2011.  More than 25 thousand chickens, cattle, camels and donkeys received multi-vitamin injections and treatments for various parasitic diseases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Jennifer Pearson) CJTF-HOA Photo NEGELE, Ethiopia (September 7, 2011) - U.S. Army Captain Jill Lynn, the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion functional specialty team veterinarian, and Community Animal Health Worker Mohammed Isaq, second from the left, work together to treat a young camel during an eight day Veterinary Civic Action Program in Negele, Ethiopia August 23, 2011. More than 25 thousand chickens, cattle, camels and donkeys received multi-vitamin injections and treatments for various parasitic diseases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Jennifer Pearson)
NEGELE, Ethiopia (September 7,  2011) - Doctor Dejene Taye, right, and Animal Health Assistant Behailu Fekede (center) clean an infected head wound on a calf while U.S. Army Captain Jill Lynn 490th Civil Affairs Functional Specialty Team Veterinarian assists during an eight  day Veterinary Civic Action Program in Negele, Ethiopia August 24, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Jennifer Pearson) CJTF-HOA Photo NEGELE, Ethiopia (September 7, 2011) - Doctor Dejene Taye, right, and Animal Health Assistant Behailu Fekede (center) clean an infected head wound on a calf while U.S. Army Captain Jill Lynn 490th Civil Affairs Functional Specialty Team Veterinarian assists during an eight day Veterinary Civic Action Program in Negele, Ethiopia August 24, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Jennifer Pearson)

More than 25,000 cattle, camels, chickens and other livestock received necessary veterinary treatments August 16 to 24 in an effort to help livestock in the Miesa and Siminto, Ethiopia, region survive the current drought. A partnership between local Animal Health Assistants (AHAs), Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs), the district veterinary office of the Negele Borena Region of Ethiopia and members of the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion functional specialty team (490 CABN FXSP) from the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa conducted a Veterinary Civic Action Program, or VETCAP. According to Dr. Dejene Taye, Negele Borena District Veterinary Officer, a similar VETCAP in December helped more than 90 percent of the livestock in the region survive a drought and the current support will continue to help the livestock make it through the next drought.

"It is very satisfying working with the Americans and it is good for the communities," said Dr. Dejene. "Thanks to the government, this support helps the pastoralists and will help to save more than 20 thousand breeding cattle."

The CAHWs gave multivitamin injections as well as treatments for trypanosomiasis, the most economically important livestock disease of Africa, especially in cattle. Trypanosomiasis, known as sleeping sickness in humans, affects all aspects of animal productionnâ?fertility, birth weights, lactation, growth and survival. They also cleaned and treated animal's wounds and administered injections of antibiotics and medications for other parasitic diseases. Gera Huka, a local villager, traveled more than 10 kilometers to have his livestock treated against worms and to receive multi-vitamins. "Some of my cattle are sick or have wounds," said Huka. "I thank the government and America for helping my cattle." The VETCAP was also a good learning experience for the Civil Affairs team to better understand the types of illnesses and injuries of the livestock and how the CAHWs identify and treat the animals.

"Dr. Dejene, the AHAs and the CAHWs have been great to work with in the classroom and in the field," said U.S. Army Captain Jill Lynn, 490 CA BN FXSP veterinarian and mission commander. "Working together we have made a difference for the animals and the community. I know Dr. Dejene and his team will continue to do good things to help keep the livestock healthy for the community."

During the completion ceremony, Boru Cherfole, an AHA stated "Though you could not understand the people at the crush site because they speak a different language, it echoed throughout the day that everyone was very happy that you were here to help with the treatment of animals. It was great to see the U.S. Army Civil Affairs vet team side by side with us treating animals. You weren't just sitting there; you were out there with us helping our community."

Other community health workers continued the sentiment by thanking the team and their hard work. "You showed great commitment in the field when we worked together," said AHA Behailu Fekede. "You helped us at the beginning and now it is up to us to continue and help our community."

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