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Swapping knowledge in Vanuatu
24 May 2011

Captain John Lee, a veterinarian from the Australian Army conducts training for students at the Vanuatu Agriculture College in Luganville, Vanuatu.
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Pacific Partnership 2011
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Five veterinarians and technicians recently spent a day at the Vanuatu Agricultural College discussing various aspects of animal management with the 30 students of the college.

In the group were veterinarians and technicians from the U.S Army, the Australian Army and the non-government organisation World Vets.

They were there as part of Pacific Partnership 2011, a U.S led humanitarian aid mission that aims to strengthen alliances and promote multilateral security cooperation.

The team had already spent several days caring for pets and livestock around Luganville, Vanuatu and had been requested by the Agricultural College to conduct a theoretical and practical training day with their students.

The theoretical presentations included information on exotic diseases, domestic parasites, pig management, the five principles behind animal welfare and how to prevent catching zoonotic diseases (diseases that are transferred b/n animals and humans).

Norah Rihai, a teacher at the college, expressed her gratitude for the visit to the team at the end of the theoretical instruction.

“Although the students were quiet, they did take it all in. It is very hard for them to get this level of information normally and the presence of the Pacific Partnership vets is greatly appreciated,” said Norah.

The practical activities included neutering two pigs and three baby goats and de-worming three more pigs. The students were extremely interested in these activities, crowding around the veterinarians and technicians as they worked on each case.

Australian Army Reservist Captain Jon Lee is on Pacific Partnership for 10 weeks, having joined the mission in Hawaii.

“Initially I thought we're not having much impact here, but then it became obvious that the students were listening and further feedback showed that they really were interested in what we were telling them.”

“The teachers want to keep in touch and get information on pig production, parasite control and other farm livestock related matters.”

During their time in Vanuatu, the Pacific Partnership veterinarian team saw 118 animals at a range of sites. In addition to their teaching activities cases included stitching horse wounds, treating flea infestations, and castrating farm animals.