Habib Rahman, or ’Doctor’, as he is known to his trusting client farmers, attended the para-vets training course provided by the Afghan Veterinary Association (AVA) in September 2016. He owns a drugstore for veterinary medicines in Samangan. He has employed and trained up two helpers in his shop. Farmers walk in and explain the problems with their livestock and they are advised what to buy by these ‘para-vets’ who suggest medicines and their administration and dosage.
If the problem continues, Habib goes to the field to physically examine the animals. According to him, there are at least 100 farmers per day who come to the drug-store and he visits 5-6 cases in a day. This increase in volume of work has translated into a 5% net income increase in the past 12 months. He reckons that ‘improvement in diagnosis and prescription from within the drug-store and by going out to physically look at the animals has increased farmers’ confidence’ in his services. “Farmers are now telling each other about how good an animal doctor I am and more and more farmers are coming every day. Before the training it was never this busy”, he said with confidence.
Habib believes that linkages with other para-vets is important to enhance his drug-store business. He also thinks that the way forward for the livestock farmers is for para-vets to receive further training on diagnosis and prescription of medicines. Another important linkage, says Habib, “is for the project to help link us directly with vet medicine manufacturers in India, Pakistan and Iran.” According to Habib, this will significantly bring down the prices of medicines and help improve the situation for both farmers and the para-vets themselves. Currently his drug-store buys medicines from middlemen.
A para-vet in the more remote areas
Abdullah Ahmad lives in Hazrat Sultan and sees 10-15 farmers per day. He makes at least 4-5 visits in a 5-6km radius to physically look at the sick animals, all because of a ‘better understanding of diseases and their treatment’. Abdullah feels that their training as para-vets should be a continuous process, mixing new knowledge and refreshers so that they stay up-to-date. He also said, “We need training on Artificial Insemination for a few para-vets here because currently we have to call in a para-vet from Baghlan province to render this service and we have to pay him a fee of 2000Afs per case excluding all other costs”. He believes that this will make the service more affordable for local farmers and increase revenue for the trained para-vet.
“I have seen a 10% increase in incomes directly resulting from a corresponding increase in farmers coming to ask for help compared to the year before”.