Spirit Of Friendship Helps Gambian Equines Breathe Easy
26th September, 2023 14h15
When Heather Armstrong and her team from The Gambian Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT) attended the recent BEVA Congress, they had high hopes of raising awareness for their charity, connecting with the equine veterinary community and fostering new partnerships. Little did they know that they would leave congress with an equipment donation for their cause, thanks to the generosity of Jon Slattery MRCVS, Director of BreathEazy.
Heather, the Founder and Director of the GHDT, was attending BEVA Congress alongside her colleague, Emily Elgar RVN. Throughout the event, they forged a friendship with Jon who happened to be manning a neighbouring booth. As the congress drew to a close, Jon presented Heather with a Flexineb nebuliser to take back to The Gambia. Heather takes up the story, saying, “We have a lot of patients in with respiratory problems but as these machines were beyond our budget, we were not able to contemplate having one. We were delighted when on the last day, Jon asked if we would like one as a donation. We could not continue the vital work that we do without the generosity of people like Jon, and the vets who volunteer their time. We are incredibly grateful.”
From its foundation in 2002, the GHDT has relied on the support of the veterinary profession, both through the provision of training and the volunteering of time as well as essential equipment donations. This valuable input has helped the organisation to grow from its humble beginnings to the present day. As well as a mobile clinic that provides veterinary services to remote rural villages, the GHDT now has two treatment centres, staffed in part by volunteers. The newest centre is a busy veterinary hospital, that provides care not only for horses and donkeys, but also for dogs and cats. Additionally, the trust offers long-term accommodation for animals who are unable to return to where they were found.
BreathEazy’s contribution will make a significant difference to the management of the GHDT’s equine respiratory patients. The Flexineb delivers targeted medication to the lungs and lower airways in as little as five minutes, supporting improved clinical outcomes with fewer of the side effects associated with systemic medication. Jon explained that the nebuliser is ideally suited to the GHDT’s work. “As well as being lightweight and compact, it is also battery powered so the team will be able to use the device wherever it is needed, including in remote locations.”
While the GHDT is incredibly grateful for this recent donation, Heather explains that they continue to rely on the support of individuals, businesses and the veterinary profession, to further their mission in The Gambia. “The work we have done to date has made a tremendous difference to the health and welfare of animals but there is still more to be done. There are a number of projects in the pipeline, including opening a new vet school in The Gambia. This all comes at a cost, but we are making a difference and that’s what makes it all worthwhile.”
To find out more about the work of the GHDT, donate equipment, or find out about volunteering opportunities, including helping with the GHDT’s neutering campaign, visit their website.
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