Uganda, US Come Together For Animal Education
Thirty Community Animal Health Workers from Kaabong, Uganda, participated in a two-week veterinary civil action program to gain knowledge and skills in livestock treatment and sustainment. The program was a joint effort between the Uganda People's Defense Force, the Ugandan Ministry for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa.
Soldiers from the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion Functional Specialty Team (FxSP), assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, traveled to Kaabong, August 29 to September 9, to bring veterinary assistance to the northern region of the country.
"The Karamoja region has a shortage of veterinarians, so they rely heavily on community animal health workers," said U.S. Army Major Dean Klenz, the VETCAP mission commander. Klenz added that having a plentiful number of CAHWs who are up-to-date on providing treatments is vital to farmers since animal diseases can often be transmitted to humans.
The CAHWs spent one week in a classroom environment, discussing how to detect diseases and apply preventative measures to cattle, goats, sheep, donkeys, dogs and cats.
"This emphasizes how important their livestock is, what diseases that humans can catch from them, and how healthy animals and livestock will lead to healthier people," said U.S. Army Specialist Shawn England, 490th FxSP veterinary technician.
Afterwards, the CAHWs, along with the FxSP team and four veterinary students from Makerere University in Kampala, traveled to three treatment sites in and around Kaabong to provide free treatments for livestock owners. Makerere students and the CAHWs took on the responsibility of being the primary treatment givers in the field.
"The students were very knowledgeable which made it easy to teach them and were equally eager to learn new things," said Mbatidole Irene, a Makerere graduate. "When it came to the field work, they were very cooperative and hard working, thus we managed to treat many animals."
A total of 29,502 animals were treated in the one-week field VETCAP period, with the majority of those animals - more than 25,000 - being cattle brought by local owners.
With the assistance of both the Ugandan and American veterinary representatives, the CAHWs completed the mission with spray pumps, medicinal drenching guns and coolers. Their work enables future assistance to animal owners and farmers to continue inoculations for animals to remain healthy.