USAID and Government of Nepal delegates visit Heifer's animal health camp
Heifer Nepal conducted free animal health camp in Baireni Village Development Committee, Dhading district on 14 September 2015. The event was attended by Joseph Miskov, Regional Advisor-South Asia, USAID/OFDA, Santosh Gyawali, AID Development Program Specialist, USAID/Nepal, Latif-ur Rahman, USAID/Pakistan, Chief of District Livestock Service Office (DLSO) Dhading, Dr. Devendra Bhagat and Livestock Development Officer, DLSO Dhading, Krishna Bd. Ghdont imire. The camp was organized to provide an opportunity for local smallholder farmers to receive veterinary services, bringing injured or sick animals to the camps to be examined and receive on the spot treatment. The Camp was inaugurated jointly by Mr. Miskov and Dr. Bhagat by unveiling the camp banner.
Participants from USAID walked around the camp observing the registration of farmers and animals, recording the problems, veterinary and laboratory check-up by veterinary technicians, prescription of medicines and distribution of medicines as per the prescription. They interacted with the veterinary technicians and Heifer representatives regarding treatment procedures and medicines.
As per the information received from DLSO, more than 4,000 large animals and 16,500 goats were lost in Dhading district alone by the April/May 2015 earthquakes, while more than 81,000 houses were collapsed. Most of the population in Dhading is dependent on livestock, esp. dairy and meat goats as their major livelihood means. The collapse of animal shed leading the livestock to stay under the tent, lack of feed, exposure to diseases and lack of health services.
Mr. Joseph Miskov from USAID/OFDA said that OFDA has a long history of humanitarian response particularly in shelter, livelihood, WASH and now livestock. He also mentioned that USAID/OFDA is happy to work with Heifer International in HEAL-Nepal project and appreciated Heifer’s work with community and serving the needy people during such emergency. He highlighted that this is the time when the smallholder farmers need to focus on livelihood and income generation in order to recover from the losses and damages of the earthquake. Dr. Devendra Bhagat from DLSO said that: “the animal health camp like this is very helpful to farmers to treat their animals and consult with the technicians as well as getting information on accessing services from government centers. Lots of organizations came to the district after the earthquake with focus on human needs, but none of them cared about livestock. We are very happy that Heifer came to help livestock”. He highlighted that apart from the health camps, the project is constructing demonstration livestock shelter in project VDCs and encouraged farmers to learn and copy them. He also mentioned that DLSO is happy to be technical partner in HEAL project. He thanked Heifer and USAID for helping farmers and expressed the need of long –term project to support the smallholders to recover from the losses.
A total of 619 large animals and 251 small ruminants were treated against parasitic infestations, wounds, skin infections, infertility, etc. during the camp. A total of 256 smallholder farmers (male: 184 and female: 72) from Baireni, Pida, Bhumistham and Goganpani VDCs brought their animals and/or fecal samples to the camp. The team of 15 technical experts led by Dr. Devendra Bhagat from District Livestock Service Office (DLSO), and Dr. Binod Gupta and Dr. Suyog Subedi from Heifer International Nepal provided services throughout the camp. The farmers were happy to receive the quality health service for their livestock.
Project brief: HEAL-Nepal project centers on preserving livelihood assets through restoration of disrupted livestock and veterinary services systems in 90 VDCs of Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, Dhading, Nuwakot and Kavre districts, which were heavily impacted by the April/May 2015 earthquakes. The project is expected to benefit 12,000 smallholder farm families directly and 150,000 families indirectly. HEAL-Nepal project has been made possible by the generous support of the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) and Heifer International, and being implemented by Heifer International Nepal in close collaboration with the Government of Nepal.
By Sumnima Shrestha, Communication and Resource Mobilization Manager
Photographs by Dr. Suyog Subedi, Animal Well being Officer