With almost half the population living on less than $1.25 a day, many Lao people suffer along with their animals when disease outbreaks occur. Zoonoses, diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans, are common. Both people and animals in rural Laos also experience widespread malnutrition.
Subsistence farming and animal husbandry also mean that communities are very vulnerable when drought, pest outbreaks or disease strikes. The loss of a single cow can mean the difference between basic survival and destitution. With outbreaks of deadly diseases such as foot and mouth or hemorrhagic septicemia, common occurrences, many families struggle just to feed their children, let alone save for school and medical fees.
Small Steps to Great Solutions
To help support these subsistence farmers, VWB/VSF is working to develop veterinary capacity in several districts in central Laos. More vet services mean healthier animals, which means a better life for everyone.
PAHWs for Thought
We’re working in collaboration with local villages and with a country-based project team to train primary animal health workers, called PAHWs. By working with local partners, we can improve skills, while also enhancing community awareness about animal healthcare and improving communications between local people and provincial reporting services. In a region where many emerging infectious diseases are transmitted from animals to humans, the need for improved disease prevention and surveillance is greater than ever.
PAHWs in remote communities in Laos can help teach their entire community about animal health care, nutrition, disease control and how to become empowered and receive fair trade for their products. PAHWs also work with VWB/VSF and NUOL to hold Community Health Days in many villages in the Xaythany District, which are a great venue for village-wide education.