old ladys mobile clinic offers free medical care for working animals in egyptian village
Last Updated : GMT 13:26:15
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Last Updated : GMT 13:26:15
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Old lady's 'mobile clinic' offers free medical care for working animals in Egyptian village

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Almaghrib Today, almaghrib today Old lady's 'mobile clinic' offers free medical care for working animals in Egyptian village

Old lady
Giza - XINHUA

Saad Abu Amira, a 66-year-old farmer, waited patiently beside a small mosque in the village of Abu Sir in Egypt's Giza governorate to treat his sick donkey pro bono at a mobile clinic run by a group of young farriers and vets who treat farm animals in rural areas.

"My donkeys get free medical treatment here. I'm even given free medications if my donkey really needs them," Abu Amira said as the vet checked his donkey.

Four years ago, volunteers headed every Tuesday morning to a clinic in one of five stations in the area where villagers seeking treatment for their animals gather around a makeshift mobile clinic which is in fact simply a donkey cart packed with medicines.

The Rural Wellness Initiative was Maryanne Stroud Gabbani's idea, an American animal farm owner living in Egypt since the 1980s.

Egypt homes millions of working animals and the four-legged creatures play an vital role in rural neighborhoods as they are used in various agricultural processes such as plowing, planting and weeding.

Gabbani believes animals belonging to farmers in rural areas should at least receive the minimum medical care such as deworming and wound remedy.

Simultaneously, however, it serves as an opportunity for local veterinarians to instruct animal owners on how to better care for their animals thus preventing medical problems.

"I found a young vet who believed in my idea and we started collecting donations from friends to purchase the basic medications required," Stroud Gabbani, initiative founder, told Xinhua at her Giza farm.

Before the uprising in 2011 which removed former president Hosni Mubarak from power, Gabbani used to provide touristic rides for people in rural areas.

However, tourism was negatively affected by the chaos following the uprising and tourist numbers significantly decreased.

"My staff was bored so I began searching for opportunities for them to learn veterinary and farrier skills...and we worked with The Donkey Sanctuary who did a really great job here," she added.

Gabbani's staff was trained to become farriers by The Donkey Sanctuary, also known as the Egyptian Society for the Protection and Welfare of Working Animals.

Consequently, Gabbani, together with the new farriers, hit the rural roads on a donkey wagon and began to trim donkey hooves, deworm farm animals from goats to camels, provide rural housewives with medicine for their poultry, and spread improved animal welfare practices.

Gabbani said that her staff only works in Abu Sir, adding that their work is mainly preventative and educational because "if the animals are healthy, farmers won't have problems affecting their livelihood."

"In addition to treating my animals, the clinic taught me a lot. The farriers trained me how to better care for my donkey and how to feed it. This never took place before in our village and I really want it to continue," said Abu Amira.

Gabbani says most treatments are minor such as deworming, hoof trimming and wound healing, adding that these little things significantly and positively impact the animal's comfort and health.

"We also have a small clinic at my farm where we receive farmers in dire need of help," she added as she oversaw her staff caring for a villager's animals.

"Sometimes farmers knock on my door late at night, asking for help for their sick chick," she said with a smile.

The clinic receives new volunteer yet experienced vets who join and provide medical service to the villagers on a weekly basis.

"We provide free treatment for local farmers and their animals and educate them about better animal care. We also give them agricultural and health advice," Mohammed Abdel Hay, a volunteer veterinarian, told Xinhua.

The vet said there is a notable improvement in the owners' attitude towards their animals as well as the animal's status since villagers have become able to care for their animals.

"This pro bono clinic is crucial for farmers because they depend on their animals for their livelihood and cannot afford regular medical expenses, in addition to the lack of working vets in their areas," he added.

Gabbani and her staff have been providing medical care for the animals for four years now via her mobile clinic, an essential service needed by the village.

In addition, Tuesday has now become a day when villagers head towards the clinic for a free check-up on their animals to ensure they remain in good health.

"I come every Tuesday even if my animals are okay. The clinic is an important part of our life now," said Abu Amira with a smile on his face.

Source: XINHUA

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