The VWB team has been hard at work these last few weeks!
Phase one of the project this year is complete. This month, we have been attending community meetings and completing house monitoring of our beneficiaries. We have learned of some very important struggles , including entire herds destroyed by wild dogs, aborted pregnancies, and theft. The loss of a goat is very serious to our beneficiaries, because goats represent not only a source of food, but an income and a livelihood as well. Luckily, we have also heard success stories in the communities! In some groups the goats are alive and healthy, and the community has continued its pass-on of goats to other members. In one group, we were happy to hear of almost 50 goats passed on during the year, a success that represents cooperation between neighbours and the sustainability of the program. Well done!
And so, we move on to phase 2: blood tests and vaccinations.
Jaime taking a blood sample with a perfectly timed photobomb!
MC pulling a sample.
We offer a yearly vaccine against sudden death, or omulaso as the locals call it. This disease is caused by the Clostridia bacteria, and kills seemingly healthy goats by releasing an endotoxin into their blood. This disease is common in southern Uganda because the area experiences both wet and dry seasons, and the goats can easily acquire it through grazing. It is a silent and sudden killer of goats, but luckily the introduction of the vaccination program over the last few years has helped to prevent it.
Our focus this year is testing for and vaccinating against brucellosis in goats. This highly contagious disease is caused by a bacterium called Brucella melitensis. It can cause infertility, stillbirths, abortions and premature birth of weakened kids. It is also a zoonotic disease, meaning people can get infected from it when handling blood, body fluids and birthing material. We test the goats by taking a blood sample and running a simple test in the lab. The goats that are negative are then offered the vaccine and ear tagged. The goats that test positive should be removed from the herd to reduce the spread of the disease.
Testing and vaccinating over 300 goats is no easy task, but luckily we have a great team of helpers.
Jaimee and Vivian showing off her fabulous Veterinarians Without What? Borders! Tshirt.
Only part of our great team: (L-R) Mary-Claire, Vivian, Superparavets Namusisi, Janet and Joseph, and Jaimee.
Our team from FAOC and our paravets have been a great help to us. Vivian, Joseph and Shafiq from FAOC translate on our long days in the field. We are also so thankful for the help of the group paravets, who administer the vaccines. This gives them a chance to perfect their skills and receive extra income, as each member who receives the vaccine must pay the paravet for their services.
Joseph restraining and Namusisi giving the clostridial vaccine.
Shafiq, MC and Sarah taking a break in the shade.
Time is flying with the work we’ve been doing over the last few weeks. Hard to believe it, but June has already come and gone!
Happy Canada Day from Uganda! (L-R) Megan, Mary-Claire, Jaimee, Feh, Elyse, Jen and Sarah.
Dr. Joseph Ruhinda of NARO came out to join us for Indian food in Uganda to celebrate Canada Day!
With the arrival of July comes the Ugandan dry season. We are experiencing first hand the hot weather, the dusty roads and the effects of drought on the land. This time of year is often a hardship for our beneficiaries. Water collection becomes difficult and even more essential for goats and families alike. The locals must travel a long way in hot weather to line up at the pump to fill their jugs. Many hours of the day are dedicated to the fetching of water from local bore holes and ponds.
Line up at the bore hole in Akatete.
Basket making in Kahenda.
Last time, we told you about Vivian Namale, the project coordinator at FAOC. This week, we want to introduce another essential partner of the project: Mr. Joseph Ahimbisibwe.
A sincere, honest, trustworthy and intelligent member of the FAOC & VWB team, Joseph has many roles to play. He is one of our superparavets, translator extraordinaire, community leader, family man, dynamic community meeting MC, and long-time friend of the project. He joins us on long days in the field, driving us on his boda-boda motorcycle, helping to take blood samples, educating beneficiaries, inspiring group members, and teaching us about raising goats in Uganda. A successful farmer in his own right, he is a man of impeccable work ethic and upbeat attitude, and always willing to teach. Thank you Joseph for all the work you do! We couldn’t do it without you!
Happy Canada Day from Jaimee and MC 🙂