post thumbnail

A Massive Education and Experiential Boost for Veterinary Students

Last month we shared with you our exciting new partnership with the remarkable Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy. We promised to let you know about another inspiring development in Kenya. 

The University of Nairobi Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has limited capacity for students to access hands-on training and exposure to handling animals with basic routine equipment. The faculty is tremendously excited about the introduction to a whole new world of study with the initiation of a residency program developed by Veterinarians International. 

Ol Jogi Conservancy is home to a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital and rehabilitation rescue center. Vet students of different backgrounds from around the globe will be both learning and teaching in the center through this all-encompassing curriculum.

Students at the University of Nairobi have a critical equipment shortage with either antiquated equipment or none at all. Chemistry analysis is done by hand and studies are mainly lecture only. With this inefficiency, the disconnection gap between theory and reality is wide. 

Current laboratory facilities do not have functioning automated machines, each blood sample is run by hand.

When U of N graduates are hired, they have little knowledge of current equipment being used and valuable time and resources are depleted to teach what should have been learned in school.

Diagnosing animals and learning to place IV catheters, obtaining vital blood pressure and cage-side blood sugar data with glucometers, EKGs, etc. will transition students from concept to reality and allow for quantitative information not readily available at the university.

Working with both wildlife animals in and around the conservancy and livestock with injuries, students will get practical background on treating real-life animals and be able to track their progress.

Currently, Ol Jogi has no lecture theatre for technical training, dorms, or a school bus. Veterinarians International’s mission is to develop the program to include these necessary tools and utilize this incredible conservancy space as a teaching site for students from around the world.

Keeper Zachariah with Najin and Fatu, the world’s last remaining Northern White rhinos.

The program will focus on the One Health concept of education with an in-depth understanding of how companion animals, livestock, and wildlife are deeply interconnected and the implications of how the health of one species affects the wellbeing of all.

One of the best ways to improve the welfare of animals, at no cost, is through conscientious connection with creatures. First-time students will have access to humane education, husbandry, and animal behaviour, while engaging with animals with mindfulness.

Teaching students to handle the animals with compassion and care will translate to the community. When animals go from being viewed as an object to being seen as a living, sentient being, they are safer for humans and humans are rewarded with a new sense of affinity and connection.

People in this region have almost no access to vet care. Students will be servicing the community with low-cost care while increasing their skill sets with practical applications of their studies. The residency will greatly help build relationships with locals and organizations. 

With a goal to eliminate rabies from Laikipia, students will be trained to vaccinate and will witness the impact firsthand. Children are at highest risk via reactive dog bites and the students will help prevent and protect the most vulnerable against loss of life. Vaccinating one dog for rabies has triple benefits: for humans, for domestic animals, and for wildlife.

Having a body of vet students at work in Ol Jogi will also assist the region’s efforts with disease prevention and animal population control.

VI’s luminous plan to bring the University of Nairobi students to Ol Jogi for their much-needed experiential veterinary education will raise the bar, which will systematically aid other organizations working in Kenya with a greater return on investment. 

Through this program at Ol Jogi Conservancy, Kenyan veterinarians will graduate in a holistic, well-rounded manner with a solid foundation in animal care.

As our program grows, multiple conservancies throughout Kenya will benefit from veterinarians with higher levels of expertise.

Our starting point: to raise money to bring students from around the world, pairing them to learn together.

The Veterinary Residency Program will be a sustainable training hub for East Africa with a $250,000 investment, giving local and international students access to equipment, facilities, and targeted workshops.

The first line of defense for the animals is the veterinarians. Communicating all they’ve learned to locals, the respected vets will help motivate the community to implement new ways of dealing with pets, livestock, and wildlife. Utilizing this facility to the fullest, we will help the community improve how they engage with animals, specifically for their health and welfare. 

Vice President Erin Ivory and a group of companion animal experts are thrilled to return to Africa in November to begin VI’s work on the Veterinary Residency Program at Ol Jogi.

Please consider participating in this expansive and exciting educational program to help us reach our goal of $250,000! Every dollar will be matched by the Meringoff Family Foundation so your donation will go twice as far!