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Kyrgyzstan New Zealand Rural Trust’s work with poverty-stricken livestock farmers in South-eastern Kyrgyzstan…

Early in 2008 Vetscript ran an article on the Kyrgyzstan New Zealand Rural Trust’s work with poverty-stricken livestock farmers in South-eastern Kyrgyzstan. In response, many veterinarians from around New Zealand contacted the Trust – some looking for overseas work, some for a self-paid overseas experience, but all wanting to make a contribution. The Trust was very grateful for the enthusiastic response to the article, but had to explain that it was a charitable organisation and was not offering employment. For those who wanted to contribute their own time at their own cost there are language, cultural and professional barriers to working in Kyrgyzstan.

It was explained to those interested that funds were being sought to help Kyrgyz livestock technicians start a rural animal health practice. Andrew Gore from the Morrinsville Animal Health Centre (MAHC) took leave without pay to offer veterinary oversight. The Morrinsville Animal Health Centre provided $9,000, which was matched by Gareth Morgan under the Trust’s funding arrangement. Andrew approached Shoof International who gifted all the veterinary equipment taken to Kyrgyzstan, and with Trustees, helped to establish four rural animal health practices. Items of veterinary equipment, a stock of drugs, a refrigerator, veterinary and practice management training was provided as a package to selected animal health technicians. These technicians will be expected to run a self-supporting practice with payments from farmers for vaccinations, dipping, artificial insemination and animal treatment.

The Government has a network of its own veterinarians at a provincial level with supporting services from diagnostic laboratories. This service offers vaccination against five zoonotic diseases. Their resources only allow for about 50% of animals to be vaccinated. Consequently the Government and the World Bank (together with other non-government organisations) are supporting the establishment of private practices to make services available to farmers. KNZRT is currently exploring the possibility of replicating this model, in the hope of creating sustainable veterinary infrastructure in third world countries

A village needs around 7000 sheep and goats as well as poultry, cattle and horses to support a veterinary practice. Typically 700 families own these animals and 50% of the farmers may participate in the veterinary scheme and be good payers. This statistic improves with experience and increasing confidence. The main problem is that farmers are used to being provided with everything under the Soviet system and are not used to a self-funded private sector approach. It takes time to change attitudes. The main diseases are Foot and Mouth, Anthrax, Haemorrhagic Septicaemia, Pasteurellosis, Brucellosis, Hydatids and Rabies. Together with internal and external parasites these may cause significant livestock losses or limit livestock production. For poverty stricken families production improvements and saved animals make a huge difference to their assets and incomes.

Our thanks to Andrew Gore, Morrinsville Animal Health Centre and Shoof International for their generous assistance.

Article sourced from Vetscript the New Zealand vet journal