Thursday, April 2, 2009

Update from Ethiopia - November 23, 2008

Signs in both Ahmaric and English at the entrance to the classroom proclaimed the training going on inside.

The CAHWs were provided the Key Afer version of “Starbucks” during breaks two times a day. A lady was contracted to provide coffee husk tea to the students as well as a mixture of corn and beans.

She always had her young daughter, Simoney with her.

The husk tea brew tastes pretty good, more like tea than coffee since only the husk, or outer shell of the coffee bean is steeped in hot water to make the drink. The coffee bean is a high end product that country people generally don’t drink. True Ethiopian coffee is as good as any in the world, including Milan!

The Ethiopians can rightly claim credit for discovering coffee after noticing that the goats that ate the leaves and beans of the kaffa bush were quite stimulated. Arab traders developed a taste for it as they plied trade routes to Ethiopia from the Red Sea, and the rest is history.

Group photo of Community Animal Health Worker trainees on the first day of their two week session, standing in the photo are COL (Dr.) COL Floyd on the left and Dr. Kassa Bayou of FINTRAC/USAID on the right. The two principal trainers are also present, Kabete in the red shirt on the middle of the back row, standing, and Eyasu kneeling on the front row to the right with a conference case in front of him.

In southern Ethiopia the men of the Benna tribe who are the primary group we are training as CAHWs in this session, usually carry a “berkuta” (sp?). This is a carved wooden stool used to sit upon or to rest one’s head upon, which is surprisingly comfortable!

Update from Ethiopia - November 22, 2008

The CAHW’s will be issued kits of equipment for them to train on. Our soldiers from the 354th CA Functional Specialty Team and the 2/18th Field Artillery spent a day gathering the equipment into plastic boxes to issue to the students when they arrive.

Update from Ethiopia - November 21, 2008

Skin diseases are among the most common in Africa. This cow was diagnosed based on the appearance of the skin as having streptotrichosis, or an infection with an organism named Dermatophilus congolensis and often associated with tick infections such as the tick Amblyoma. This animal has the typical lesions of this skin infection and is infected with several ticks, including one which is engorged with blood.

Dr. Kassa Bayou identified these ticks in his hand as belonging to the Amblyoma species, the type tick which may carry Cowdria ruminantium, an organism that can cause a serious illness in cattle called “heartwater.” It is also associated with skin infections with the organism Dermatophilus congolensis.

To be able to conduct a large practical exercise for the Community Animal Health Workers (CAHW’s, commonly called “cows”) being trained in this VETCAP, the Ministry of Agriculture trainers had to negotiate with the local village chief, an elected official, to all us to work in his area and to promote the people brining their animals to a central facility to allow us to conduct a mass vaccination campaign. The village chief met with us with one of his children, and was happy to facilitate this training since it benefitted his people through providing vaccinations for blackleg and deworming injections with ivermectin at no cost to them.

We are doing this training in the Benna-Tse May “Wareda,” a political division roughly equivalent to a county in the U.S. The map sketches out where CAHW’s are now located in local “Kabele’s,” roughly equivalent to a township or municipality.

Our soldiers interacted very well with the Ethiopians. SGT Tom York liked to show the children hand-held video games and had a great time with them; he also had a hard time getting his hand-held game boy back. And yes, that’s REALLY his name. He is a distant relative of THE Sergeant Alvin York of WWI fame, played by Gary Cooper in the movie by the same name and which this Sergeant York amazingly had never seen!

Update from Ethiopia - November 20, 2008

Interesting expressions can be found the world over. This one was on one of the offices at the Ministry of Agriculture where the training for Community Animal Health Workers took place. Unfortunately, we were unable to discuss the meaning of it and how they interpreted its message.

Cattle in southern Ethiopia are much like those in other parts of Africa, but we did see some “wattle” cattle (note the pendulous skin under the cow’s throat) there that we had not seen elsewhere.

Cattle graze the open lands here so their owners have the same dilemma facing that American cattlemen to identify them. In southern Ethiopia ear “notching” and skin “carving” systems are often used in most creative ways to identify cattle. This is an interesting contrast to the U.S. where a major effort on the part of the beef industry has been targeted at eliminating hot iron brands as a means of ID in order to reduce the damage to hides they cause. The hides of these cattle in Ethiopia are clearly damaged, and it does cause a reduction in their value. Part of this CAHW training is targeted at improving hide quality, particularly in goats whose skins provide leather for export markets which have been important to the Ethiopian economy. The primary damage to goat hides appears to be caused by external parasites, not ID systems such as those in these cattle.

Update - November 18, 2008

Lantana plants such as these responsible for a condition called photosensitization in the cattle who consume it. This and other types of plants cause liver damage in the animal. The damaged liver is then unable to remove pigments absorbed from green plants in the animal’s diet, thus leaving the pigments its body.

The “photodynamic” pigments absorbed through the GI system from ingested green plants reach the skin and are activated by energy from the sun, thus causing serious “burns.”

The skin of cattle afflicted with photosensitization can heal if the liver damage is not too severe, but the previously affected areas can still be seen.

Man-made bee hives placed in acacia trees facilitate harvesting of honey.

Vaccines against anthrax (caused by Bacillus anthracis) and blackleg (caused by Clostridium bacteria) were stored without refrigeration in the classroom we were assigned to use. In the interest of safety, we removed them. These vaccines were produced in Ethiopia but we were unable to determine any information about what particular species of Clostridium the blackleg contained, or any specific information on the anthrax vaccine.

A few broken anthrax vaccine bottles were in the classroom. We were assured that this was a killed vaccine, meaning that it contained no live Bacillus organisms, but we were insistent that they be removed before the classes began.