Thursday, 11 December 2014

Working Towards One Health in Indigenous Australia

 I have just spent a week in Tennant Creek volunteering with Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMIRRIC) vets and the Animal Management team of Barkly Shire. We were there as part of a dog health program in the local indigenous communities.

Tennant Creek

Tenant Creek is the main town of Barkly Shire and home to approximately three thousand residents. Barkly Shire is the largest shire in Australia, about the size of New Zealand. Tenant Creek’s history began with gold mining, an industry that has mostly closed down. Now it is the service centre for the Barkly Shire and the large indigenous community which live there.
AMIRRIC is a not for profit organisation providing animal control and health programmes for indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. It survives on government and private grants, and uses both salaried and volunteer veterinarians to run their programs. I suggest you visit their web page provided below to learn more about their important work.

Dr John at work
Graham - part of the team
















 

The working conditions were pretty tough, the camaraderie was fantastic and the result was that we desexed about 100 animals and improved the life of many others.
Promoting One Health
The highlight for me was when I was invited to speak to the men’s group. Culturally indigenous people have always had a very close relationship with their dogs and dingoes, they coexist harmoniously. AMIRRIC works to educate the community that their dogs’ health can impact their own health, that of their children and of the environment. This is also called One Health.
The Bendigo Animal Hospital is investigating adopting an indigenous community which would see one of our vets and a nurse travel twice a year to the community for a week. We would provide routine animal health management, desexing, parasite control and vaccination.
We are starting a fund, initially using our vaccination fund, to help raise some money to allay the cost of sending a team to central Australia. We would also like to provide an opportunity for a local young person to come and spend time with us at the Bendigo Animal Hospital to develop some veterinary nursing skills.
I would like to acknowledge AMIRRIC for the great work they do and for giving me this opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the lives of animals and people in indigenous communities.
If you would like to find out more about AMRRIC activities or how to contribute please visit their website - http://www.amrric.org/
Dr John
 


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