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MFBF Report: Veterinary Professor Kenya Report - January 2020
By: Dr. John VanLeeuwen
On January 24th, 2020, the “vet team”, including myself and three senior AVC students, Angelina Gorrill, Krystina Lewis and Ashley Kroyer, left for Kenya with many suitcases and boxes full of veterinary medicine. The team was accompanied by a couple of Kenyan senior veterinary students each of the three weeks to provide the Kenyans with additional practical training, and to share experiences with the Canadian vet students professionally and socially.
Prior to leaving, various veterinary pharmaceutical companies (Bimeda, Boehringer, Merck, and Vetoquinol), provided product support for the project. These products were greatly appreciated by the veterinary team to enable them to provide suitable treatments for the animals that they encountered.
The veterinary team gave over 700 cattle dewormer, and checked over 170 animals from over 120 farms during the 3 weeks, a new record. Two walk-in clinics were held for cattle that were not zero-grazed, in Mbaaria and for the first time in Kibirichia. At each farm, numerous neighbouring farmers congregated, sometimes with a cow or calf in tote, to observe and ask questions regarding their cattle. It was estimated that over 650 farmers received health management information and/or services from the efforts, a new record. The major health problems observed included infectious diseases, parasite infestations, udder infections and insufficient nutrition, leading to low milk production, poor reproduction and inadequate growth.
The team was also occasionally joined by other animal health professionals, including: a) a couple of Kenyan Bimeda employees, Joseph Njoroge and Mercy Kendi; b) a couple of veterinary technicians, Simon Muchoki and Vincent Mwaki; c) a couple of veterinarians, Daniel Muasya and Remy Mugambi; and d) a Meru County livestock extension officer, George Kobia, who shared their perspectives during training sessions and enjoyed learning our “best management practices” training messages for farmers, and learning from our systematic approaches to working up cases, diagnosing and treating ailments, and/or providing health management advice. Two Kenyan FHF staff, Leah Kariuki and Stephen Chandi, helped with translation during the 11 seminars, 2 walk-in clinics, and dozens of farm visits, and benefited from additional continuing education in the process.
The January 2020 MFBF trip was a very successful trip, with many animals receiving treatment or prevention interventions, many farmers being educated or assisted, and three Canadian veterinary students and many Kenyan animal health professionals receiving training and practical experience. It is always wonderful to work with motivated and appreciative people wanting to improve their situation in life. I look forward to returning to Kenya again to continue to partner with these dairy groups in their goals toward improved productivity and self-sufficiency in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Thank you again to all our supporters for their assistance in making this all possible.