Mdzananda goes the extra mile for pet care

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first_imgAn animal clinic running from six recycled shipping containers treats dogs and cats from a community of over 1.5 million people without help from the City of Cape Town. (Image: Mdzananda Animal Clinic)The township is overrun with stray dogs and cats, while family pets also lack the necessary health care but Mdzananda Animal Clinic aims to change all that: it has re-launched its mobile outreach clinic services to impoverished communities in Cape Town.Mdzananda Animal Clinic is the only veterinary council registered animal clinic in Khayelitsha, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town. Mdzananda – meaning distemper in the local isiXhosa language – was established in 1996 to treat animals that did not have access to veterinary care in the fast-growing community.THE ANIMALS ARE LOVEDDr Blessing Chiriseri, a veterinarian at the clinic, recalls his arrival at Mdzananda: “Just over a year ago I finished vet school and moved to Cape Town to become part of the great Mdzananda Animal Clinic team. Shortly after arrival I found myself overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of roaming pets in the township. My initial reaction was probably what most people would have – that ‘No-one really cares for these poor animals.’”It took a year for Chiriseri to realise the amount of work that goes into running Mdzananda and the love the people have for their animals, even though they cannot afford proper health care for them. “One year on, my perspective has taken a complete 180° turn. Twelve months and thousands of animals later has helped me made understand how much dedication there is from the Mdzananda team.“However, the greatest depiction of care and love has been the countless numbers of people, young and old, pushing their pets in shopping carts from far and wide in search of help. I have completely immersed myself in this beautiful interaction,” Chiriseri says.MEASURING IMPACTThe clinic took time a few months ago to take a closer look at its outreach programme, which was meant to serve communities that were further away from the established Mdzananda structures.“This step back afforded us the opportunity to assess the impact we had had over the years and a lot seemed out dated and inadequate,” Chiriseri explains. “Shifts in lifestyle and the economics of the communities meant a lot required to be tailored to better suit the different areas and particular household structures, and particularly the times when people are at home and available to bring their pets to mobiles.”The clinic found that the most important element – education – was missing. “The major aspect that required and still requires immediate and meticulous attention is education. The interaction with clients has revealed how little animal health care information these owners are equipped with. However the community seems very keen to learn [a priceless tool].”With this in mind, the new mobile outreach programme will include specific days set aside for educating people, with satellite clinic days as well.“Our satellite clinics are simply an extension of our consultation rooms, which means we are now able to properly treat some animals at these sites and to identify and admit patients needing hospital care back at Mdzananda HQ… The methods we are going to use are entirely tailored to each area we will visit. The socio-economic situation of each household visited will be appraised and then given the utmost consideration. It is always important to realise that the quality of life of the animal will only be determined by that of its owner.”Chiriseri believes these are exciting times for the clinic, and the team will have the best possible outcomes with the mobile clinic and impact powerfully on the community and the lives of their pets.“In conclusion I must say, the first day of our re-launch was a great success. The team really showed a different but positive kind of enthusiasm and we intend to keep it that way for decades to come. We are striving to make education Mdzananda’s long lasting legacy,” he adds.Anyone can help the mobile clinic by sponsoring a pet per month. Each pet receives a vaccination and de-wormer at the cost of R70 to the clinic. Each unsterilised pet is also sterilised at a cost of R200. If you are able to sponsor one pet a month for either of these treatments the team at Mdzananda Animal Clinic will be extremely grateful. Send an email to [email protected] if you are interested in becoming a monthly donor.last_img

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