The vets working in hard to reach areas despite the pandemic
Marking World Vet Day 2020 on 25 April, Brooke’s Laura Skippen, Veterinary Advisor and partner, provides updates from veterinary work around the globe.
When you become a UK vet, the declaration states: “I promise and solemnly declare that……above all, my constant endeavour will be to ensure the health and welfare of animals committed to my care.”
As a global crisis spreads and each country decides what is essential to their people and their economy, most are including vets on the list of essential keys workers. Brooke have been providing healthcare in one form or another to animals in poor and marginalised communities for over 80 years and our distinctive approach to this challenge has given us cause for celebration in these tough times.
Healthcare for their working horses, donkeys and mules isn’t an optional extra for the people who rely on these animals as their water supplier, transport, job security and ‘supermarket’ delivery service. Our vets have spent years working with communities, providing trusted advice and service that goes beyond animal treatment. Now those relationships are being used in the current pandemic to save human and animal lives.
All Brooke teams work to support local animal health practitioners (vets, paravets, government vets) to deliver healthcare, rather than providing treatment directly; this has been the defining factor in ensuring that animals are still receiving good quality healthcare. Whilst teams can no longer visit the field to provide in person support, they are giving remote support via WhatsApp groups and video calls.
Adaptability and problem-solving abilities are defining qualities of good vets. Our teams in East and West Africa had already established this way of working as our small teams support partner organisations to mentor local Animal Health Provider, who in-turn deliver quality health care to hundreds of animals. Vets across the world could learn from the well-developed Vet Resource Network that has been functioning this way for years.
In Pakistan the team have been helping animal owners in overlooked sectors, such as the brick kilns, access the government help that they are entitled to but often unaware of. When they can get the food and financial help they are eligible for, owners can continue to care for their animals whilst also feeding their families.
In Ethiopia internet access can be poor, so communities are isolated. Our trusted teams are delivering the human healthcare messaging recommended by the World Health Organisation, teaching communities about hand-washing and social distancing, to try to stop the spread of Covid-19, alongside their visits to provide emergency animal healthcare.
In India rural medicine sellers in many areas have closed, leaving owners unable to access essential medicines for their animals. The team have been linking owners to urban medicine shops and helping organise deliveries. Owners have been trained to use community run first-aid kits and these have never been more important for first line treatment.
In Nicaragua the team delivered training on protecting animals in disasters to all official government vets. This will help ensure that animals are considered in emergency planning measures, thus ensuring their welfare and protecting the livelihoods of people who rely on them.
Like vets the world over Brooke vets are ceaselessly committed to the health and welfare of all animals. The current crisis has demonstrated that nothing will stop their dedication to providing the best possible care for working animals and their owners.