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Ethiopia: Treating animals, saving a way of life

Ismael Ayah Gasle has been an Animal Health Technician in Ethiopia’s Somali region for the last 10 years. He told me that animals are now in the worst condition he has ever seen.

4 dry years

“Every day the situation is getting worse, because there is no rain,” he says.

According to Ismael there hasn’t been any good rain for four years.

It means there’s never enough water and pasture for the animals, making animals more vulnerable to outbreak of diseases, and livestock are in very poor condition.

The combination of disease, lack of pasture and lack of water leads to animals dying.

 

Under threat

This is incredibly serious in the Somali region where people rely so heavily on livestock as a source of food, and also a means of generating an income.

If a family loses too many animals in the drought there is a risk they will drop out of their pastoralist way of life, exposing them to new dangers.

Making life better

Supported by ECHO (European Commission’s humanitarian aid department), Save the Children has been training local animal health workers like Ismael to identify and treat diseases. We’ve provided them with drugs and equipment to treat and vaccinate animals.

By the end of October more than 300,000 goats, sheep, cattle and donkeys had been vaccinated and over 330,000 treated.

Ismael is confident that this support will improve the health of animals and help to ensure that the community once again has access to their source of nutrition and livelihoods. “This will make life better,” he says.

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