Ethiopia is one of the biggest countries in Africa and has Africa's largest population of cattle, sheep, goats, horses and donkeys. The rain falling on its mountainous central highland plateau provides 75% of the Nile's water, but it also has extensive arid lowland plains.
To provide veterinary care to its livestock across this challenging landscape, the government has provided veterinary clinics and smaller animal health posts throughout the country. But the vets and animal health technicians receive no training in veterinary care for donkeys and this is partly why many people believe donkeys either don’t need medical attention, or don’t respond to it.
Our teams have done a lot to combat this misconception by going into the donkey owning communities, giving veterinary treatments and educating owners on donkey care. But rather than creating dependence on our visits, we wanted to improve the skills of the animal health workers already serving those communities.
We hold regular training sessions for government vets and animal health technicians who support them, teaching them the skills they need to prevent and treat common donkey ailments as well as training them in handling and general management. We also provide some of the basic medical supplies they lack.
After a recent training session in the Amhara region, a local animal health technician admitted: "I was no better than the owners regarding equine case handling, I was ashamed and frustrated when equine cases appeared at my clinic. Thanks to the Donkey Sanctuary I can do a lot better now."
Thanks to this initiative, many owners can now get treatment for ill or injured donkeys at their local clinic.