Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)
Soldiers from the Polish Army and the Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team-IV check their shot grouping during qualification on the Polish AK-74 5.56 mm Mini-Beryl short assault rifle Feb. (click for more)
U.S. Army Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, play an impromptu game of volleyball against a team (click for more)
Dr. Mehirulla Muslim, the Nurgaram District subgovernor, addresses an audience of teachers, government officials and citizens during a ceremony to celebrate a completed solar panel electricity project Feb. 21 in (click for more)
U.S. Army Spc. Raheem Stewart, an automations specialist with TF Phoenix, steps along the rafters of the building his team helped wire for communications. Stewart, from Dallas, was one of (click for more)
An Afghan National Army soldier from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Regiment, searches a pile of rocks in the courtyard of a high-value target home outside the village of (click for more)
U.S. Army Capt. Nicole Zupka of Fair Lawn, N.J., a battlewatch captain with Combined Joint Task Force-Paladin, helps an Afghan child with her writing skills during female engagement team training (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers move through Kharwar District to prevent the Taliban’s freedom of movement Feb. 12. U.S. and Afghan soldiers braved more than 3 feet (click for more)
Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II members, U.S. Army Spc. Justin Allen (left), a London, Ky., native, and U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas Combs, a Corbin, Ky., native, get to know a (click for more)
KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Thirty-five veterinarians attended a daylong conference in the provincial capital of Asadabad Dec. 13 that focused on animal nutrition, rabies prevention and livestock parasite control.
Nearly every veterinarian in the province showed up for the event organized by the Kunar provincial veterinarian and underwritten by the Iowa National Guard’s 734th Agribusiness Development Team. The Cooperative Medical Assistance unit at Bagram Airfield also provided support for the event.
There is no record in recent history of a larger veterinary conference taking place in Kunar Province. Haji Mohasal Kahn, Kunar Province director of agriculture, irrigation and livestock, gave opening remarks and a crew from KRTA-TV in Asadabad spent the morning providing media coverage of the conference.
U.S. Army Maj. Robert Paul of Sioux Falls, S.D., CMA unit veterinary officer, spoke about the importance of livestock nutrition to animal health. He pointed out modest improvements in the quality of food fed to livestock translated into substantial gains in value when they went to market.
“A well-fed head of cattle can weigh at least 200 pounds more than a poorly fed head of cattle,” Paul said. “That’s more to sell and more money in the owner’s pocket.”
Kunar Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Mohammed Ghalib gave a presentation on livestock parasite control. He noted that, after poor nutrition, parasites were the single-greatest factor contributing to poor weight gain in livestock.
“Parasites are big problem for the farmers, and you must educate them on how to deal with this problem,” Ghalib urged the veterinarians.
The ADT’s veterinary officer, U.S. Army Maj. Loren Adams of New Liberty, Iowa, discussed rabies prevention and control. Rabies, which is largely under control in the developed world, is a major animal and public health threat in large swaths of Asia and Africa. Rabies is always fatal after the onset of clinical symptoms.
According to the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, at least 55,000 people, mostly children, die from rabies each year and the number may be much higher due to underreporting of the disease. Rabies is endemic to Afghanistan. Every veterinarian at the conference, including Ghalib, admitted personally seeing rabies in livestock or humans.
“I’ve been a veterinarian in a mixed practice for 25 years in Iowa and never once saw a case of rabies,” Adams said. “It goes to show you what a widespread problem it is here that every single one of the veterinarians here has seen it in an animal or a person.”
Adams said veterinarians play a vital role in rabies control and prevention efforts. Not only do they educate their clients and the public at large about rabies, veterinarians also educate health professionals about the disease in many cases. The dog population in developing countries, Adams continued, typically contains the largest reservoir of the rabies virus. Effective rabies control involves trapping, spaying or neutering, vaccinating and releasing dogs. Veterinarians are central to such programs as well.
“What I want to do in this province is talk to children and adults about rabies; we want to do some education,” Adams said. “And we also want to begin a vaccination program for the dogs and, of course, I need the veterinarians for that.”
Adams emphasized that spaying or neutering dogs is also essential to rabies control, which is why he demonstrated neutering surgery on a dog owned by a local Afghan. The veterinarians at the conference crowded around as Adams sedated and cleaned the dog. He quickly neutered the animal and began suturing the surgical incisions, then supervised as an Afghan veterinarian completed the process long before the dog regained consciousness.
For Afghan veterinarian Dr. Bahadr Khan, who practices in the Narang District of Kunar Province, the entire conference was “very important for Kunar veterinary doctors.” Khan expressed special enthusiasm for Adams’ emphasis on rabies control and prevention.
“Rabies is a problem in all Afghanistan, but it’s an especially big problem for the people of Kunar,” Khan said. “If we can control rabies, we can help the people, the animals and the entire community.”
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