Achievements of the donkey health and welfare project of The Donkey Sanctuary in Ethiopia (1994-2005)

E. Bojia
Feseha Gebreab
Alemayehu Fanta
G. Ayele
Mersha Tesfaye
B. Amare
N. Dereje
C. Chala
Andrew F. Trawford
Joe Anzuino
Mulugeta Getachew
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In Ethiopia the Donkey Sanctuary started its health and welfare activities in 1994. This was the time when the International Donkey Protection Trust and Addis Ababa University concluded an agreement and signed a memorandum of understanding. Since that time and up to 2003, activities were centred in the districts of Bereh, Boset, Ada and Akaki and Addis Ababa Grain Market located at a radius of 100-150 kms from Debre Zeit, the centre with a stationery clinic. The facilities of the latter include an open-air clinic, surgical theatre, laboratory, store for drugs, boxes for mules and donkeys, offices and a training room. As of 2004, three districts namely: Dugda Bora, Lume and Sebata have been added as sites of operation. Resistance at the very beginning by donkey owners to bring their animals for treatment was a problem but over the years the service has obtained wide acceptance, the trend exhibiting exponential growth: Ada (R2=0.87), Akaki (R2=0.88), Bereh (R2=0.70), Boset (R2=0.70), and for mules (R2=0.84). The clinic has so far provided treatments to 289,999 donkeys and 14,665 mules, and 217,609 owners have benefited. In 2003 two satellite projects have been set up in the northern part of Ethiopia: Amhara and Tigray and have so far treated more than 72,000 donkeys and mules and more than 29,000 owners have benefited. The centre at Debre Zeit was also designed to cater for local and international training, to date it has provided training to 217 veterinary professionals (28 foreign vets, 41 local vets, 17 foreign and 101 local animal health assistants, 30 local animal health technicians) in donkey medicine, surgery, farriery and general welfare. Since 2002, 297 clinical year students enrolled for the DVM degree in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Addis Ababa University have been trained in donkey medicine and surgery. Three to four clinical year students accompany mobile teams in field operations on a weekly rotation basis. Recently, the project has embarked on an education and extension programme in conjunction with its treatment activities and so far 51,513 owners have benefited. In the recently launched school education programme 1014 students in 7 primary schools are attending sessions in the basics of animal welfare. Baseline data development for the understanding of the health and welfare problems of donkeys in Ethiopia is being pursued by the project staff and through the supervision of DVM thesis involving final year students.

Published as conference proceedings
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