KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Afghan veterinarians who participate in veterinary programs sponsored by the Iowa National Guard's 734th Agribusiness Development Team's expressed satisfaction with the Agribusiness Development Team's efforts during in-depth interviews to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs, March 10.

Maj. Loren Adams, a doctor of veterinarian medicine who serves as the Agribusiness Development Team's veterinary officer, had seven veterinarians practicing in Kunar province come to the Agribusiness Development Team's headquarters at Forward Operating Base Wright. The primary purpose of the visit was to administer a follow-up rabies vaccine to the veterinarians, all of whom are taking part in an Agribusiness Development Team-initiated rabies control and prevention program.

While the veterinarians were on Forward Operating Base Wright, a member of the Agribusiness Development Team asked them a number of questions related to current and potential Agribusiness Development Team-supported veterinary projects.

Each of the Afghan veterinarians interviewed agreed the Agribusiness Development Team's veterinary programs have been beneficial, and each of the veterinarians recommended an expansion of the programs.

Adams worked closely with the Kunar Provincial veterinarian, Dr. Mohammed Ghalib, to implement a variety of initiatives in August 2010. They implemented veterinary outreach sustainment programs linking Afghan veterinarians with local livestock owners, professional development seminars for Kunar veterinarians, and a rabies control and prevention program in Asadabad, the provincial capital.

Adams explained why he arranged to have the Afghan veterinarians interviewed about the Agribusiness Development Team's veterinary programs.

"Naturally, I'm going to think the programs I'm in charge of are great, but it's the Afghan veterinarians who are on the ground making them happen," Adams said. "What I really wanted to know is whether or not they had seen any unintended consequences from the programs, and they would know."

Every veterinarian interviewed insisted all of the Agribusiness Development Team's programs have been beneficial. Dr. Abdullah, an Afghan veterinarian, gave a response typical of the veterinarians interviewed.

"These programs have helped a lot," Abdullah said. "It has been very helpful financially for us and for the owners of livestock to help prevent many kinds of diseases."

Another interview subject, Dr. Hiyadatullah, singled out the veterinary outreach sustainment program, in which Afghan veterinarians provided free vaccinations to livestock owners, as especially valuable.

"Through the ADT, we were able to get involved with livestock owners and get their respect through this vaccination program because, at first, the livestock owners were not interested in vaccinations," Hiyadatullah said. "But when they found out the vaccines were free, they all came and brought their livestock, so even if it's not free in the future, they'll still want their animals to be vaccinated, and they'll bring them and pay for it because now they know the benefits of vaccination and animal treatment."

Each veterinarian thought existing Agribusiness Development Team veterinary programs should be expanded. Dr. Wasiullah, who is also the director of the Asadabad Veterinary Laboratory, called for a province-wide expansion of Agribusiness Development Team veterinary programs.

"We should do the same programs in all districts," Wasiullah said. "We should provide vaccinations for all the livestock in all the districts of Kunar."

The veterinarians had a variety of recommendations for additional programs. While the specific recommendations for future veterinary programs varied, each veterinarian urged the Agribusiness Development Team to continue to support the veterinary sector in Kunar province. Dr. Bahadr Khan, who practices in the Narang district, made a direct plea for ongoing involvement by the Agribusiness Development Team.

"We want the ADT to assist us in our efforts and provide these kinds of programs for us," Khan said. "Through the ADT's assistance, we can help the people of Kunar and livestock owners."

As the Agribusiness Development Team's veterinary officer, Adams said he was pleased with the results of the interviews but he is careful to make no promises to the Afghan veterinarians.

"I really like the veterinarians here, and I'm glad they're benefiting from what the ADT is doing, so we'll keep doing it," Adams said. "Our deployment will end in (this summer) and it's going to be up to the team from Illinois, who's replacing us, to decide what kind of veterinary programs they want to do."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16