January 29th, 2013
We’re back in Granada after three full days in El Bote, and an uneventful journey back. The task today is to count and pack our remaining inventory, and it’s a pretty trivial job this year; we have nearly nothing left.
We treated almost 600 animals in El Bote, and 1129 animals on the entire trip. I projected, and supplied for 850 animals, so in terms of raw numbers this was a wildly successful trip, especially since there was not only the routine preventive care (vaccination and deworming) done, but many surgeries as well, and many serious problems, some of them life-threatening, addressed.
The number of animals seen in El Bote presents a somewhat counter-intuitive anomaly to me. Boanerge Rocha has opened his new practice there, and I would have expected that would diminish the case load, but he is overwhelmed with work, and it’s had the opposite effect. The local population has apparently developed such confidence in Boanerge and in veterinary medicine generally, that an increased patient population has been recruited (the actual overall population is stable). This is part of the cultural change we hope to achieve generally.
There is a growing and persuasive
school of thought that the number of animals treated in this type of work is of little importance and that only the meta-changes really contribute to long-term sustainability. Whilethis may be true to some degree, it’s also true that there is great satisfaction in bettering the lives of individual animals and owners, and that in Nicaragua and other host countries in which we work, there is such absolute scarcity of resources that maintaining a high standard of care will have to involve a continuing flow of resources from the developed to the developing economy, and that therefore a more expansive definition of “sustainability” to include that, is indicated.
But there is also this: five senior students and recent graduates from Nicaragua and El Salvador, with minimal exposure to hands-on experience with horses, were part of our team, and a case load of that magnitude provided enough teaching opportunity that each of them is now capable to anesthetize and castrate a horse, roughly age a horse by dentition, do basic equine dentistry, and do a good hoof trim. It does not obviate the need for continued resource redistribution, but that’s “sustainability”.
Photos at http://hsvmaravsnicaragua2013.shutterfly.com
David Turoff, DVM