Animal Health Monitoring and Health Worker Update in Lao PDR

In addition to a new project team working on setting up cricket farms in Laos, the veterinary team has been hard at work with mentoring visits for the Primary Animal Health Workers (PAHWs) that are trained in the villages.  The meeting with the PAWHs was an opportunity to hear their challenges and successes with their work. One challenge that will be tackled as a team is to do some lab work with baby chicks to investigate why there have been recent deaths in the flock.   The farmer who raises the chicks is very keen to know if there are any other diseases that the village could work to vaccinate against!  This is great news because it is a marker of community engagement and their desire to learn more about keeping their animals and farms healthy!

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The second process improvement that the team worked through was to improve the recording form that the farmers use to keep track of their animal data. The group discussions were lively and the farmers shared their point of view on what they would like to record: some of them wanted to have an individual follow up of all the hens to be able to check their age, egg and chick production, in order to do better selection of breeders! Others however thought it would be difficult to check which hens produce the fastest growing chickens, since they separate the chicks from the hen at the age of 5 days. In the end, the team decided to create different forms for each farmers’ needs. Until now the recording on the old form was not the most successful part of the activity, but during this meeting, farmers said they understood the purposes of recording and that now they are starting to understand how to record properly, so they will do it next month!

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The mentoring visits were also a time to do case reviews of the sick animals the PAHWs see in the field and to help the PAHWs in case they were stuck with a case they could not treat or diagnosed properly.

The team visited farms with lame cows, goats with conjunctivitis, goats with papilloma virose and pigs with red spots allover their body. One of the PAHWs, Labu for HVTK village had the opportunity to review a full clinical exam on a goat, with the help of Khamuck from Veurnten and Somphone from Tachampa Villages.  We reviewed a lot of topics based on the PAHWs’ work and questions: clinical examination of a lame cow, causes of lameness, haemorrhagic septicaemia vaccination calendar and how to deal with an outbreak, treatment of eye problems, diagnosis and treatment of abscesses, use of antibiotics, diagnosis and treatment of foot and mouth disease…  it was very impressive to see all the things the PAHWs could remember !

The PAHWs recounted their dialogue with farmers in the villages to educate them about the importance vaccinating cattle against haemorrhagic septicaemia as it will protect animals for 6 months and it is much cheaper than injecting antibiotics when the animal starts to be sick.

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In addition to the animal health monitoring, 5 separate rabies vaccination campaigns were organized.   The PAHWs worked with the veterinary team to vaccinate dogs and cats in several locations.  The campaigns were also used as an opportunity  to review vaccination protocols, rabies symptoms, bite response protocols, and what to do with the carcass of a dead animal with the community members. The PAHWs all did a great job of remember what they had learned 6 months ago at their training!

The Lao team ready to vaccinate!

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Villagers bring their dogs and cats in to be vaccinated against rabies:
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