PEMBA, Zanzibar, Aug. 10, 2011 -- Servicemembers from Maritime Civil Affairs Team 116 and 490th Civil Affairs Battalion Functional Specialty Team, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, partnered with more than 60 Pemban veterinary service personnel to treat roughly 9,000 animals during a Veterinarian Civil Action Program in Pemba, Zanzibar, July 4-30, 2011.

In partnership with the Zanzibar Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, or MLF, local district veterinary officers, veterinarian assistants and community animal health workers, or CAHWs, provided training and field experience so veterinary personnel could better administer veterinary services within their communities.

“We have a very small number of veterinary assistants in Pemba to assist the staff we have,” said Dr. Omar Kassim, Pemba Department of Veterinary Services director. “The CAHWs are directly working with their communities. Their support has helped the veterinary assistants. We really appreciate the assistance of the U.S. Embassy of Tanzania for this training.”

During the first half of July, the teams helped the MLF teach a two-day classroom course to the CAHWs in the northern region of Pemba. The course was then repeated for the CAHWs in the southern region.

“The classroom teaching was intended to provide a refresher to the 56-day training the CAHWs had received last year from the Zanzibar government,” said Capt. Jill Lynn, a 490th veterinarian and mission commander. “It allowed us to hone our skills and strengthen our partnerships through education.”

The classroom portion included sections on common disease identification and how to administer medications. Ten days of field work followed each course. During field training animals in more than 60 villages and five outlying islands were given free basic vaccinations.

“The animals were given tick control treatment, a de-wormer and a multivitamin,” said Lynn. “In some cases animals had small wounds sutured or abscesses removed.”

During field training, the CAHWs were able to treat goats, cows, cats, dogs, chickens, donkeys and monkeys. For many CAHWs the field training was their first experience in animal treatment, according to Lynn.

“Up to this point the CAHWs had very little hands-on, practical experience,” said Lynn. “This is really the first time they’ve gone into an environment where they have a daily opportunity to treat hundreds of animals. I’ve seen a tremendous amount of skill development throughout the 10 days with each group.”

To conclude the Veterinarian Civil Action Program, a graduation ceremony was held to congratulate the CAHWs and their achievements during the month.

“These exercises have given us a chance to learn more and share the knowledge of the diseases here that we don’t normally see in the United States,” said Lynn. “We also have some different treatments and treatment methods they may not be familiar with. Partnering together provides the opportunity for both sides to learn and share knowledge and involving new treatments and practices.”

At the conclusion of the Veterinarian Civil Action Program approximately 6,000 cows, 2,600 goats, 150 chickens, 10 donkeys, 70 dogs, 50 cats, seven ducks, and three monkeys were treated.