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A day on a WVS veterinary project in Malawi

Wed 31st May 2017

Vet Ben Odbert volunteered in Blantyre, Malawi where WVS is providing a veterinary resource as well as supporting its sister charity, Mission Rabies. 

Our recent trip to Blantyre to volunteer with the team at the BSPCA really blew us away! My friend Rachel and I had been out the year before too, and had watched the BSPCA’s tireless champion May pacing out the plans for a new BSPCA hospital. Now, just over a year later, there is a fantastic building there equipped with some excellent facilities; a great testament to a lot of people’s commitment and hard work, and undoubtedly now a beacon of hope for the local animals and their owners.

Only one thing hadn’t changed in Blantyre, and that was the welcome we received! It was great to see several of the friends we made last year again, especially Lyson and Chiku who are still working hard for the WVS and Mission Rabies and made us feel really honoured to be back in the “Warm Heart of Africa”!

Rachel and I set to work straight away, and spent most of our time operating; neutering as many animals as possible to help control the population and prevent the spread of rabies, but also treating lots of injured and sick dogs which had been identified by the very dedicated Mission Rabies volunteers during their work vaccinating dogs in the community. One poor little dog came hopping in with a broken leg, but was up and wagging her tail just hours later –minus the smashed limb (thanks to Rachel’s amputation skills) and plus a name (“Savannah”) and a fan club! All she needs now is a new home, and the BSPCA are working hard to look after and foster dogs like her all the time.

As well as operating in the new hospital, we were also able to go out and operate in the community. Ellie and Ashley, the incredible volunteer nurses with whom we were working, could turn a school classroom or kitchen into a field hospital in no time and, assisted by Roy, Rosie and Peter, we had a very efficient and effective surgical clinic.  Certainly the fascinated local schoolkids who crowded around excitedly to watch the operations seemed to think so! It makes a bit of a change to be trying to converse in Chichewan whilst you operate!

I look forward to joining the team again at some point in the future! Tionana!