Moving forward in 2014

It’s only February but it’s been a busy 2014 so far! Last week we ran the third intensive week of PAHW training, helping the PAHWs move to being more self-sufficient in basic animal health skills and advising on farm management.

The vegetable production project is going from strength to strength as farmers practise recording their production activities and learning about how to market their vegetables – producing a regular supply, varied selection, and coordinating their crops. It will take some months for everyone to really get a hang of it but some of the motivated volunteers are leading the way.

PAHWs at the forefront

This month has seen the relaunch of the successful Livestock Clinics in 5 villages in Houychiem. Combining in-depth practical training with community outreach, the clinics are a way to give PAHWs village-based training whilst sensitising farmers to the importance of livestock vaccination, parasite burdens, and general farm management.

Using learner-centred approaches, the team encourages each PAHW to do a clinical exam, assess the situation of each animal and make a decision on appropriate treatment.  The PAHWs are thus building up their problem-solving skills during real case examples.   This week the clinics have focused on blackleg vaccination and parasite treatment.

The clinics were alsoa great opportunity to share knowledge about traditional treatments, such as using lemon for eye infections.   Check out some of the pictures here!

Livestock clinic team in Napok
Learning to assess body weight
Calculating drug dosage

Hands on in the farm

Today saw a culmination of intensive planning as the training for volunteer Primary Animal Health Workers (PAHWs) is finalised. During consultations and village visits in 2009, it became clear that there is a high demand amongst local farmers for greater veterinary support. With her wealth of experience, volunteer vet Dr Anne Drew and I have therefore been working with a fantastic team from the National University of Laos (NUOL) to put together a programme that will cover the necessary vet basics and provide PAHWs with new skills and knowledge to apply in their local setting.
We practised some training techniques today as students from the Faculty of Agriculture observed Anne Drew and faculty member Mr Sisavath demonstrate cattle handling and management skills.
NUOL has been working hard over the last few weeks to introduce the project to local communities and has recruited a motivated team of 33 volunteers to take on the role of Primary Animal Health Workers in their villages. Next week we will carry out a baseline survey in the villages which will put us in good stead to ensure our training covers priority animal health issues in the area.

– Sonia Fevre