Groundbreaking new resource to help vets and remote communities

Wednesday, 23 May, 2007
Cairns, Australia
Vets can contribute to improving the health of remote Australian communities now they have access to a practical manual Conducting Dog Health Programs in Indigenous Communities: A Veterinary Guide.
This online manual, the first of its kind in Australia, was a collaborative effort between AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities) and IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare).
Senator Nigel Scullion, Minister for Community Services will launch the manual at the 6th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Conference today in Cairns.
Darwin-based vet Dr Samantha Phelan, who wrote and researched the manual, said that effective dog health programs have the capacity to make a significant difference to public health and wellbeing.
“In many remote Australian communities companion animal populations, in particular dogs, are very high. Vet services in Indigenous communities are either unavailable or unaffordable and as a result the health of the dogs, and ultimately the people who care for them, is suffering,” Dr Phelan said. 
“There are plenty of city-based vets who are keen to work on dog health programs in Indigenous communities, but there are a few things they should be aware of before they pack up and go bush.”    
The manual provides practical, technical information adapted to suit vets working in the often challenging conditions of remote areas, and advice on how to achieve effective community consultation when working within Indigenous communities.
“IFAW and AMRRIC share the understanding that the fate of animals is inextricably linked with our own and that improving the quality of life for the dogs will contribute to improving the health of the community,” IFAW Director Michael McIntyre said. 
“We want to see more vets, with the same passion and dedication as Sam, using this manual to help form long term partnerships with communities.  Because of these compassionate and professional individuals we will see happier, healthier dogs and happier, healthier people,” Mr McIntyre said.

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