SLAWS (Sierra Leone Animal Welfare Society), founded in 1988 by the only practicing qualified vet in Sierra Leone receives veterinary support from WVS in the form of medicines, equipment and volunteers.
From the 13th to the 26th November the WVS team took part in an outreach programme with the use of the SLAWS mobile veterinary unit, where they visited two separate locations. The local community brought their dogs to the unit where they received neutering, treatments and rabies vaccinations, as well as the owners receiving education on the risks of diseases. In one touching case, a young brother and sister had both walked several kilometres with their two puppies when they heard the mobile clinic was working nearby. After a full health check, vaccination and neutering the team made sure they were given a lift back home in their truck with their puppies to spare them the walk!
The importance of the outreach programme was highlighted one afternoon when leaving the clinic, when the team came across a rabid dog, collapsed on the roadside. Locals were under the impression that the dog had gone mad, showing the importance of the education on diseases offered by SLAWS. During the teams visit, Kate, one of the volunteer vets made an appearance on a national breakfast television show to talk about the charity and the importance of its work with an emphasis on benefits to human society, helping to spread the important work carries out by SLAWS. The team also spent time at the clinic where they provided training to technical assistants in basic clinical techniques and treated an array of different cases.
The stories from this volunteer trip highlight the importance of the support we give to SLAWS and how invaluable our vets are in this country where access to the skills of qualified vets is extremely limited.