Ms Latee, resident PAHW in Paksapkao village, lives with her husband, her dog, 5 hens, and several chicks and her mother lives right next door. Several years ago, Ms. Latee raised a small amount of livestock, but the manual labor became too difficult and she now is a Primary Animal Health worker for the village and also has a plot in the local organic vegetable gardens.
Ms. Latee has been a Primary Animal Health Worker for the past year. Before she began her training in animal health, she was a human health worker in her community for 3 years. With a background knowledge of vaccination benefits in children, she was motivated to train as a PAWH in order to learn more about animal diseases so that she could treat livestock in her home village. She also wanted to be able to share the knowledge she gained with other villagers, as well as the village chief, so that he could be a community resource when an animal became ill. Ms.
Latee’s natural disposition to share information and always be available for help earned her the award for “Most Helpful PAHW”. As a woman, it is sometimes hard for Ms. Latee to treat some of the larger animals that have problems. It can sometimes be the most difficult part of her job. However, the other PAHW that works in her village is always available to help her if the owner of the animal cannot.
Conversely, she says that as a woman, it is easier for her to do the education part of her job. Community members listen to her as she tries to help them understand the importance of vaccinating livestock and which drugs to use when. The thing that Ms. Latee is the most proud of in her work with animal care is that she has gained so much knowledge about animal diseases and treatments.
International Women’s Day is a national holiday in Laos. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the lives of women around the world. Who are the women in your life?
By Katie Foster