Veterinarians Protecting the Community
Dahana-e-Ghori is a district located in the north-east of Afghanistan. It is a remote community with limited infrastructure. This proves to be a dangerous handicap for farmers who breed livestock. If some of their herd falls ill, the nearest capable veterinarian could be tens of kilometers away.
Beginning in 2015, the Aga Khan Foundation implemented an initiative in Dahana-e-Ghori that chose ten veterinary students from vulnerable households. The Aga Khan Foundation oversaw proper education and training in detecting livestock illnesses, appropriate treatments, inoculations, and provided quality tools for para-veterinarians to use on the job.
Mehr Ali, one of the para-veterinarian students chosen by the Aga Khan Foundation, explained the changes he experienced as a benefactor in this initiative, “This year I provided vaccinations for around 18,000 animals”. For each animal he vaccinates, he receives one afghani plus fifty afghanis per injection as compensation.
Being a qualified livestock para-veterinarian stationed in Dahana-e-Gori makes it easier for farmers to effectively watch over their herds. Because of the increase in access to veterinary services in the area, the animal mortality rate has decreased by an incredible 90%. These services enhance the well-being of the livestock, which, in turn increases the incomes and livelihoods of the residents of Dahana-e-Gori.
Meher Ali during Vaccination of animals in the field.
Ali explains that, “in the past, the livestock owners travelled to the city to buy medicine. This not only consumed their time; but sometimes their animals still died because of limited available medicine.” Now, veterinarians in the area have easier access to supplies of the correct, high-quality veterinary products.
Additionally, the selected para-veterinarians ran community awareness campaigns to inform farmers of common animal diseases. Members of the community were trained in understanding that some diseases are communicable between animals and humans, and, that pregnant women should not be involved in farm duties when there is a sick animal around.
Ali is passionate about his profession and members of the community see this through his work. “People in these communities trust me because they know that I have the skills and practical field experience provided by the Aga Khan Foundation field staff.”
The Aga Khan Foundation successfully trained para-veterinarians in Dahana-e-Gori to provide high quality services appreciated by the community. These individuals are not only protecting the livelihood of the region’s economy but acting as advocates to promote awareness of treatable diseases affecting overall public health. The Aga Khan Foundation is proud to contribute to such successful outcomes and sustainable development in Dahana-e-Gori through the AACRS scheme with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian Government.