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In parts of India, rural women are vital in delivering animal health products to smallholder farmers who need them. These women are locally referred to as Pashu Sakhis loosely translated as friends of the animals. The Pashu Sakhis are female animal health workers and they have always played an important role in connecting their communities with animal health products. They work alongside other animal health providers. To be able to do their work properly, the Pashu Sakhis need continuous training, mentoring and support.

In May, GALVmed and its partners, Veterinary Social Business division of Hester Biosciences Limited and Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotional Society (BRLPS) held a joint training program for the Pashu Sakhis  on the importance of vaccination, deworming and basic goat husbandry practices.  Twenty Pashu Sakhis from Jhajha and Sikandra blocks of Jamui District in Bihar, India participated in the training.  The women were trained on how to vaccinate effectively and how to work systemically so there is no interruption of vaccine supply through distribution network. The sessions were led by Dr Kundan and Mr Brajbhushan from Hester. The trainers clarified the prevailing misconception about vaccination among goat keepers. Participants were also informed about Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) and Goat Pox vaccine; cold chain requirement; and veterinary products available in their respective areas.

Apart from the trainings, the women will also benefit from sixty cooler boxes that were made available by the GALVmed-Hester project to BRLPS to be distributed to Pashu Sakhis working in that area.

These training and supply chain development activities are part of tripartite association among GALVmed-Hester Bioscience Limited-Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (BRLPS) to accelerate vaccination of livestock against PPR (in goats) and Newcastle Disease (poultry) in the State of Bihar, India. Hester has developed a supply chain through twenty six retailers in twenty six blocks of eleven districts in Bihar under this agreement. Refrigerators at these retail points have also been labelled with informative posters explaining Do’s and Dont’s in cold chain management of vaccines.

More reading: Can goats empower women? By Bill Gates

Written by Dr Rahul Srivastava (Veterinary Social Business, Hester) and Dr Peetambar Kushwaha (GALVmed)