Friday, February 4, 2011

VetTrek - Day 4

Thursday December 2, 2010
¡Hace frío!
¡It's cold!

This Havana morning could very well have been around 10C.

After a morning walk through Old Havana we arrived at the Society for Heritage, Community and the Environment (SPCMA) Sociedad Patrimonio, Comunidad y Medio Ambiente.

SPCMA is a Cuban NGO that concerns itself with “the preservation, rehabilitation, management, development and promotion of the historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the City of Havana, and in the community and environmental issues that affect the City.”
Photo:Michael Belovich
The SPCMA is located in the heart of Habana Vieja.
Space is available for meetings and art installations that promote the NGO's objectives.

Dr. Fernando Gispert opened with a presentation of the work being done by Comisión Nacional de Bienestar Animal lead by Dra. María Gloria Vidal Rivalta

Dra.Vidal also hosts a television show focusing on animal welfare.

The next presentation was the one I was looking forward to.
Comisión de Esterilización
A collective of volunteers working together with the Veterinary Clinic in Old Havana to
carry out free sterilizations each quarter.
The objective is to lessening the number of strays in the streets and therefore reducing disease among animals and humans alike.

This is done with the support of the “Popular Council” and their access to media to promote the work.
The neigbourhood CDRs (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution) identify strays for participation.

From the intake of a stray from the street
- through nursing back to health
- sterilization
- post operative care
the process takes over 90 days.
In the two years this program has been running, 208 animal have gone through the process. They are enjoying a 100% placement rate into new homes for these former strays. This program has reduced the number of strays wandering the streets and increased the health of many more.

It was great to see members of the Comisión de Esterilización in attendance
with their latest placements.
Not long ago they were strays on the streets of La Habana Vieja.

The Spanky Project delivered anesthetic and supplies for 100 spay /neuters in support of this program in Old Havana. I look forward to seeing this project spread to surrounding barrios.

Professor Natan Vera Rodríguez
of the Agrarian University of Havana gave a presentation on the
lateral flank approach for ovariohysterectomy.
The majority of Cuban veterinarians use this small incision procedure over the North American preferred mid-line spay.
This theoretical presentation was a step towards a practical application by our Canadian veterinarians the following day.
Natan and Dr. Carlos Yrurzun presented a case study involving "external fixation" on the broken jaw of a horse.

Dr.Belovich was called upon for a consultation.
At this moment, with a light being shone up his butt this guy
may have wished he was back in the street.
The tentative diagnosis for the dog was anal gland adenoma.The Spanky Project's Cuban front line of Susana Hurlich and Gladys Morales posed with
Agrarian University Profesores Pavel Herrera Vera and Natan.
After our morning event it was time to collect the supplies we had brought from Canada.
We offered to assist Dr.Gispert and Dra. Guadalupe Ramos-Directora Municipal de Veterinaria de la Habana Viejain in transporting them to the Laika Clinic for a mass sterilization event on Friday.

But first.... time for lunch
photo:Michael Belovich
Some will tell you that "the food in Cuba is horrible".
Well, not true.
Taberna de la Muralla on Plaza Viaja is a micro-brewery that serves up tasty well priced offerings from the grill.
Once we completed lunch we moved across the square to ...
Café El Escorial
Some of the best coffee based infusions in the city can be found here on Plaza Vieja.

Photo:Michael Belovich
Considering the amount of supplies, it was decided that carrying the bags across
Old Havana was not an option.
So,we flagged down a couple of Bici Taxis and load up Gispert and Guadelope.

Photo:Michael Belovich
We would meet up with them the next day, along with other members of the
Comisión de Esterilización.

We capped off our day with friends and dinner in Barrio Chino.
Yes, Havana has a Chinatown.

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