The Animal Heathcare System

para-vet3Livestock is a very important component of the livelihoods of the tribal communities of our area. As a livelihood asset which contributes liquid income substantially to the current ways of living as well as growth of a household. In this drought prone belt most of the families have small ruminants along with cattle. Mortality due to preventable diseases is higher in the small ruminants compare to large ruminants in the area.

Since 2009, SPS started providing animal healthcare support to tribal villages. Our biggest achievement has been that it has ensured availability of veterinary services in an area where there are no qualified doctors even for human beings. At present we have 8 trained para-veterinary professionals (“pare-vets”) under supervision of our veterinary doctor, who provide 24/7 veterinary services even in the most remote hamlets. Para-vets now successfully treat diseases like mastitis, distokia, etc. and can even provide artificial insemination facility for animals. The programme has also led to a great change in superstitious beliefs and practices of people.

The para-vets provide animal healthcare services to 90 villages on a daily basis. This team caters to primary health care of over 10,000 animals (bovines and small ruminants) and is available on call. Dr. Gopal Barapatre, veterinary doctor working with SPS since 2007, trains the para-vets. He ensures that his para-vets are literate, can conduct basic math calculations to calculate dosages and fees, and are able to read English, as most of the medications are written in English. These recruits spend one month in the field, as well as additional time in a classroom setting before they are left to their own devices to treat animals. Cost of medicines and treatment of animals is borne by the community, who make payments for services received to the SHG Federation, Udainagar Pragati Samiti (UPS). Programme has also been trying to work out similar packages for small ruminants like goats and poultry birds. Linking with SHGs makes the para-vet system a sustainable and scalable model. The para-vets will over time become service-providers of the SHG Federation, UPS, and their compensation will eventually be taken care of by UPS.