vet heads to the Gambia on mission to help animals
Burnham-On-Sea Veterinary Nurse has just returned from a unique
trip to Africa.
Jenkins provided care for horses and donkeys in the Gambia as she
volunteered for The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust.
to Burnham-On-Sea.com about the experience, she said: "The
Gambia is a very poor country and many living there are in extreme
poverty. The majority of animal welfare problems are a result of
a lack of education and understanding, rather than cruelty."
people rely on their animals for their own survival so they do everything
they can to keep their animals healthy. A healthy working animal
can increase a farming family's income by up to 500% and buying
an animal is a big investment for a family. If the animal becomes
sick or dies not only the animal suffers, but its owners suffer
added: "I spent time providing nursing care to horses and donkeys
in the Gambia which is a real challenge due to insect-borne diseases.
They include Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis), African Horse
Sickness, and tick fever which are all too common. When these problems
are combined with poor nutrition and poor management caused by a
lack of knowledge and poverty, the results can be disastrous for
provided the Gambian people with the skills and knowledge to prevent
and solve their own problems, creating a long term, sustainable
solution. By providing training opportunities for farriers, harness
makers, para-vets, livestock assistants and blacksmiths, I helped
to enable them to provide essential services to their local community
whilst also earning an income for themselves."
are held in villages and towns in the Gambia to provide training
for local people so that they can support their own communities
with professional skills. Poorly manufactured and poorly fitting
harnessing materials are responsible for a large amount of animal
suffering, but it is a relatively easy problem to prevent."
continued: "Farmers are provided with information about the
best types of harness and information about correct harness fit,
loading of carts and equine care. When provided with education they
are very keen and willing to apply better practices and workshops
are always extremely well attended."
time was split between the two centres; Matasuku and Sambel, where
there are facilities to admit in-patients who require more long
term treatment than can be provided at a mobile clinic.
continued: "The team have nursed back to health patients with
some extremely serious and life threatening illnesses and injuries,
including equines with serious burn injuries, broken legs, severe
fungal infections, laceration wounds and emaciation. One of my cases
was an orphan foal I nursed until he was old enough to return to
the family who owned him."
GHDT is involved with a school education programme covers basic
management practices, appropriate handling, harnessing and information
about equine diseases, illness and injuries. Many of the problems
that I saw would be prevented if their owners had the correct knowledge
and knew what to do in an emergency situation."
have provided 147 donkeys to needy families who were unable to afford
to purchase their own donkey. The donkey recipients attend an intensive
training course at the GHDT centre where they are educated about
how to appropriately care for and handle a donkey. The recipient
must provide a house for the donkey to shelter in before their donkey
is allocated to them."
donkeys are provided on loan to the families in need, and the project
manager travels to visit all of the donkeys every month to ensure
they are being properly taken care of, and to provide veterinary
treatment if required."
charity relies heavily upon dedicated volunteers who offer their
time and services to help us, and employ a team of local Gambian
staff. The GHDT is a small charity that has had many great achievements,
but to continue this work your support is urgently sought. It was
an incredible experience to be part of supporting such a worthy
encourage your help to keep this amazing going in any way that you