News: US Army Civil Affairs Battalion conducts VETCAP in Ethiopia
Story by Senior Airman Lael Huss
BABILE, Ethiopia - Partnering with Babile’s veterinarian team, members of the U.S. Army 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, participated in a Veterinary Civic Action Program here May 21 - June 1.
The VETCAP’s mission is to strengthen capabilities of community animal health workers, ensure livestock health, enhance agriculture and economic stability, and develop trust and confidence with this CJTF-HOA partner nation.
[Keeping animals healthy will] increase the economic stability of the area, [which] is very important,” said U.S. Army Spc. Kelli Helfinstine, 490th CA BN veterinary assistant. “If the animals are healthy, that makes the people healthier because they live off the animals.”
Together with Babile public veterinarian, Dr. Muhammed Ousman, U.S. Army 490th CA BN veterinarian Maj. Brad Keough and his two veterinary assistants, Helfinstein and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kristopher Craighead, shared best practices with eight local community animal health workers. The VETCAP team treated animals in the areas surrounding Babile for mange, lice, worms and tick-borne diseases. All together they treated almost 1,000 animals, including camels, donkeys, sheep and goats.
Local animal workers commented on the benefits that this type of training provides.
“The training helps me in the way that I can make a little bit of money and I can also help my community so they can rely on us. This training gives me the opportunity to provide better service for the community as a whole,” said Abdishek Mahmud, community animal health worker, about the lessons learned during the seven days of training.
The health workers expressed their gratitude to the VETCAP for the information they shared.
“We are very grateful to the U.S. for making this opportunity available to us,” Mahmud said.