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Guinea-Bissau: training volunteers to enhance veterinary care

30-09-2011 News Release 11/199

Dakar (ICRC) – Stockbreeders in the north-west of Guinea-Bissau will soon have new veterinary assistants to help care for their livestock and reduce animal mortality.

Five Red Cross Society of Guinea-Bissau volunteers from Varela, Suzana and São Domingos are undergoing training organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the stockbreeding administration of the agriculture ministry from 19 to 30 September in Bissau and São Domingos.

"Several diseases are taking a toll on livestock in this part of the country, which is suffering the effects of armed conflict," said Ilda Pina, who coordinates ICRC economic security programmes in Casamance and in north-western Guinea-Bissau. "Once the volunteers are trained they will provide basic veterinary care and serve as local contact persons for breeders and the veterinary services. We are hopeful that if animals are healthier, certain economic activities will receive a boost and ultimately increase household income."

In the course of their training, which includes both theory and practice, the future assistants will learn to make diagnoses and to immunize against the diseases that are most common, such as anthrax, tuberculosis and trypanosomiasis. To help them get started, they will each receive a complete set of veterinary supplies, medicines and a map of the area they are covering. In addition, the ICRC will provide them with a way to get around easily in order to work effectively.

Similar actions have been taken by the ICRC over the past two years with considerable success. In southern Senegal, where five veterinary assistants are meeting the needs of stockbreeders, a sharp decrease in animal mortality has been observed.

Since 1998 the ICRC has been working in Guinea-Bissau to protect and assist people suffering the effects of armed conflict and other violence.

For further information, please contact:
Alfa Djalo, ICRC Bissau, tel: +245 661 53 43 or +245 592 89 17
Amadou Mansour Diouf, ICRC Dakar, tel: +221 77 333 42 19