Promising Practices Para-Vet • Allied to the veterinary profession. Paraveterinary workers are those people who assist a veterinary physician in the performance of their duties, or carry out animal health procedures autonomously as part of a veterinary care system.
Background • Animal husbandry is an integral part of agricultural practices in rural areas providing alternative source of livelihood. • Veterinary care is almost non-existent. • The CRS Project conceived a cadre of community-based veterinary service providers – Para-Vets -to support the basic livestock health care needs in remote villages.
Value of Livestock • Something to lean on to in times of crisis. • Distressed families sell their cattle to overcome any emergency. • Animals are like insurance against risk • Proper animal care is critical to risk management.
Selection process and training • The village community has identified candidates minimum10 class standard of education and interested in the community work. • Partner initiated consultations with district veterinary officials to training selected youths. • The selected candidates were given a week’s training about basic animal diseases, symptoms and treatment- both theoretical and practical lessons of basic veterinary health care, livestock rearing and disease management.
Post training • Provision of First-aid kit, comprising scissors, needles, cotton, boric powder and some medicines for common animal diseases. • The trained Para-Vets were put under informal apprenticeship of professional veterinary doctors. • The trainees could call up their respective empanelled veterinary doctors for any consultations whenever the former was unable to properly diagnose the problem or unsure about the treatment. • Altogether 30 para-vets have been trained and deployed in the two flood-devastated districts.
Against all odds • Mr. Jitu Bharali (24yrs) of Nilakh Balijan “When I returned to my village with a veterinary tool-kit after the training and offered my services, I was subjected to public ridicule,” he recalled how difficult it was to convince people and gain their trust. • He offered counseling and free services if they required to convince them. No veterinary care available within 20km of radius and spent a lot of money on transport to receive any services from professional vets in the district. He works with 10 adjoining villages, provides services at their door step. • He charges Rs.5 for each service he provides, excluding the charge of medicine. Foot-and-mouth disease was prevalent in many villages. • Jitu makes some Rs 500-700 per month, which he felt was all right to meet his personal expenses. “I would like to continue with my services, which are really needed in the rural areas,” he said, adding that “more training is required to enhance my knowledge and skills”.