411th CAB veterinarians host seminar for Djiboutian veterinarians and sanitary inspectors

U.S. Army Sgt. Macila Arnold, veterinary cell noncommissioned officer in charge of the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion Functional Specialty Team, assigned to Combined Task Force -- Horn of Africa, demonstrates how to properly heat a meal, ready to eat during a seminar with veterinarians and sanitary inspectors from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Djibouti, Veterinary Services Division, in Djibouti City, Djibouti, Jan. 30, 2020. Food handling safety was one of the topics of the seminar, which included Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HAACP.) (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor) (Photo Credit: Tech. Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor)

CAMP LEMONNIER, DJIBOUTI — A team of two veterinarians and a veterinarian technician from the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion Functional Specialty Team (CAB FXST) hosted the first in a series of a monthly seminars this year in Djibouti City, Jan. 29 and 30.

More than a dozen participants received information on various topics ranging from food handling safety to bacteriology. The target audience of the training included veterinarians and sanitary inspectors from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Djibouti, Veterinary Services Division.

“This seminar is about interagency cooperation and showcases how we all benefit from the exchanges made between subject matter experts,” said Maj. Stephanie Wire, 411th CAB FXST veterinarian. “Continuity is a win-win for everyone when it comes to this series. When we trickle down information, not only can the Djiboutian population benefit from these topics, but the Camp can benefit because it could potentially allow us to eat at more local restaurants in the future.”

Participants of the class were able to see some of the inspection equipment up-close, and the open dialogue between the instructors and participants allowed for an open-forum setting.

“This training is something we needed because we don’t get a refresher course often,” said Dr. Abdi Mahamoud Elmi, deputy director of the Veterinary Services Division. “Hopefully, next time we can go deeper into the material and be able conduct field operations with some practice.”

The 411th CAB team performed a similar mission in South Sudan earlier in their rotation, which involved lab and field training–something they hope to set up with the Veterinary Services Division as early as April.

“We did lab training on basic lab clinical skills and practiced things such as parasitology, fecal examinations and blood smears, along with other lab tests they could do,” said Lt. Col. Eugene Johnson, 411th CAB FXST veterinarian. “After learning the material, we split into teams and took lab samples, did blood collection, looked at sick animals and learned how to treat them.”

During the second day of training, all members received a briefing from Dr. Saad Okie, a veterinarian from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Djibouti, Veterinary Services Division.

“Understanding the abilities and capabilities of our audience helps us prepare for a more valuable training the next time we are able to meet,” said Johnson. “Our whole goal is to reestablish and provide continuous visits to our Djiboutian partners, and we are thankful they gave us this opportunity.”

The 411th CAB is currently deployed for six months. However, they want to ensure a smooth transition takes place between their rotation and the next, fully maximizing the benefits of the training.

“What I learned from participants was that this was a good training for them and they appreciate it, and I also appreciate it,” said Dr. Mousa Mohamed Abdallah, sous director regional. “This is the first time we’ve done training with this American team, and this is a good team. We thank you for your time and help and everything you’ve done.”

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