That Sheep May Safely Graze: Rebuilding Animal Health Care in War-Torn Afghanistan

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03/15/2019
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About this title

Purdue University Press
2019
General/Trade

Description

The very mention of Afghanistan conjures images of war, international power politics, the opium trade, and widespread corruption. Yet the untold story of Afghanistan’s seemingly endless misfortune is the disruptive impact that prolonged conflict has had on ordinary rural Afghans, their culture, and the timeless relationship they share with their land and animals. In rural Afghanistan, when animals die, livelihoods are lost, families and communities suffer, and people may perish. That Sheep May Safely Graze details a determined effort, in the midst of war, to bring essential veterinary services to an agrarian society that depends day in and day out on the well-being and productivity of its animals, but which, because of decades of war and the disintegration of civil society, had no reliable access to even the most basic animal health care. The book describes how, in the face of many obstacles, a dedicated group of Afghan and expatriate veterinarians working for a small nongovernmental organization (NGO) in Kabul was able to create a national network of over 400 veterinary field units staffed by over 600 veterinary paraprofessionals. These paravets were selected by their own communities and then trained and outfitted by the NGO so that nearly every district in the country that needed basic veterinary services now has reliable access to such services. Most notably, over a decade after its inception and with Afghanistan still in free fall, this private sector, district-based animal health program remains vitally active. The community-based veterinary paraprofessionals continue to provide quality services to farmers and herders, protecting their animals from the ravages of disease and improving their livelihoods, despite the political upheavals and instability that continue to plague the country. The elements contributing to this sustainability and their application to programs for improved veterinary service delivery in developing countries beyond Afghanistan are described in the narrative.

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