Mobile vet clinic and outreach to villages (October 2018)
Social and Animal Welfare Service-Somaliland is a recipient of AKI's Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grant. SAWS will hold 6 donkey vet clinics funded by the AKI grant. This is a report about the 1st.
On 14th October 2018, I (Hassan Mohamed Aden, SAWS Executive Director and Chairman) accompanied vet doctors from the Ministry of Livestock to carry out a mobile vet clinic in villages in Hargeisa district. We were equipped with a full medical kit that was mainly donated by the Ministry of Livestock and included injection solution of antibiotic (pen & strep, paramectin), multi-vitamins (vita-boost and multivitamin tabs), albendazole for de-worming, alamycin spray for wounds and injuries, bandages and hoof trimmers, and a stethoscope. We also had tee shirts with two organizations' logos and stickers for giving out awareness messages to donkey owners.
On that day there was heavy rain that hindered our activities to do more treatment on donkeys as well as to reach more villages on the sides of the tarmac. We reached only 2 villages of Toon and Qoolcaday that the tarmac road passes through.
Because of the timing and the rain, we were able to treat only 37 donkeys in the 2 villages but these donkeys needed a lot of treatments. We de-wormed, trimmed hooves, and gave injections of Vita-boost and pen strep. The details are the following:
Village/area visited: Toon Village
Hooves overgrown, painful
Weak body and dryness of skin
Trimming hooves, removal of stones in hooves
Vita boost injection
Village/area visited: Qoolcaday Village
Not eating much
Respiratory problems, cough, weak
Pen and strep
Pictures of the treatments are below.
The biggest challenges faced for working donkeys are lack of vet treatments, lack of knowledge of owners or workers about better management of donkey welfare. Most owners are often living in hard conditions and they don’t have resources to cater to the well-being of their animals.
Owners have no skill on treatment activities.
Observations on my first trip to the outreach villages
In these 2 villages that I have seen on my journey, about 86% of families own donkeys of not less than 5 donkeys for each family including male and female donkeys. They all benefit from the donkeys who help transport supplies.
Mainly the donkeys that I have seen are female donkeys and most are pregnant (1st 2 pictures below).
There are no vet clinic locations in the villages of all the rural areas and the donkey owners are claiming that they have no access to treat the donkeys. Any donkey that suffers sickness is abandoned and most likely will be eaten by hyenas.
Yet Mr Ahmed Cabdillahi, who is deputy regional coordinator and who was a part of our mission, has informed me that at every village in the rural areas, there is one trained volunteer vet doctor who is registered with the Ministry of Livestock although they are not paid, but they take part in campaigns with no compensation.
The villagers cited me, all the donkeys are on the suburbs location of the villages in the day time, but on the night they come back to the villages fearing wild animals like hyenas to eat them and they have no shelters for protection in the rain and the sunny heat in the day time.
The interesting information that the villagers have informed me is that in the mid-1980s, most of the people in the rural area were using camels and those with donkeys were negligible, but starting from these years there is a great transformation in the perception of the people in the rural area, particularly those near the urban towns that the donkeys became very useful compared to the camels. And now there are very few male camels in these areas, although female camels are present, used mainly for milking but not for transport.
We will take these lessons learned and use them when planning and running our next AKI-supported donkey outreach clinic.