Veterinary Agricultural Development: Veterinarians Without Borders in Uganda

This is a guest post by Dr. Stephen Major, a veterinarian from Vermont. Dr. Major’s practice includes mostly small to mid-sized dairies, including many organic farms. You can check out his practice here and contact him by e-mail at: smajor [at]

Stephen-Major-Green-MountainI am writing to tell you about a special project I will be doing with Veterinarians Without Borders this fall. My daughter, Pollaidh, is a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda working with a local non-profit agricultural development organization, the Multi-Purpose Training and Community Empowerment Association (MTCEA). The photos in this post are from her.

One of the MTCEA projects that Pollaidh has been involved with distributes oxen and plows through a microlending project. Through her work, I have learned about the veterinary needs for advancing economic opportunity in the area.


Animal agriculture allows families to raise living standards and increase protein in the diet as well as providing animal draft power to cultivate enough land to market products and support families during the dry season. Uganda is subject to many hard-to-control and debilitating livestock diseases that limit agricultural success. East Coast Fever, a tick-borne disease, can kill up to 60% of young livestock.


In September, I will be heading to Uganda to join an ongoing effort by Veterinarians Without Borders to contribute to the disease control and advancement of farming in East Africa. The primary goal of the project is to train Community Animal Health Workers to provide the local support for agriculture that is necessary for economic development. MTCEA will work with the regional veterinary officer to select trainees for us to teach techniques of livestock management and disease prevention.

The goal is to recruit a balance of men and women for these roles to create a sustainable culture and business of animal health care. The training will support twenty participants for an intensive course in animal health care directed at the particular needs of their own villages in Uganda.


We will run seminars in towns with livestock markets so that we can provide hands-on training. The hope is to advance farmers’ economic opportunities so that they can contribute to the health and education of their own families and the regional infrastructure.

Thanks for your interest and support!

Elliott here again: Dr. Major and Veterinarians Without Borders are raising money to cover the costs of training and equipping the new animal health workers.

Donations can be made securely through Google Checkout via the Veterinarians Without Borders – US website. If you choose to contribute in this way, please send an e-mail to vwb.usa [at] to identify the destination of your donation as Dr. Major’s project in Uganda. VWB’s status as a 501c3 US non-profit means donations will be tax deductible.

Are there any veterinarians or students out there who have large animal expertise and might be interested in joining this or future related projects?

Leave a comment to let me know, and I’ll get you in touch with the right people.

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12 Responses to “Veterinary Agricultural Development: Veterinarians Without Borders in Uganda”

  1. Tyrell Kahan October 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    Hello Dr. Garber,
    I am veterinarian that has a strong interest in global health. I was just introduced to your blog about a week or so ago. I am really enjoying this blog and am grateful to you for supplying this source of information. I currently work at a small animal hospital. However, I have a special interest in goats and would welcome any further information on opportunities like these.
    Thanks in advance,

    • Elliott October 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

      Tyrell, thanks for your comment! I would love to help get you connected to some opportunities to expand your expertise with goats, global health, and international development. How much longer are you planning to work in your current position? Are you thinking of another degree or residency training, or are you hoping to transition more directly into this type of work? Feel free to reply here or to shoot me an e-mail through my contact page.

      • Essy November 2, 2013 at 9:33 am #

        Thank you Tyrell for the information which you have provided. Am a veterinarian, recently graduated and doing voluntary work at local surgeries. Am really interested in large animal medicine and l wish to further my studies in that field. Keep on updating us. Will be happy to be connected if such projects arise. thank you once more.

  2. Julianne Meisner December 9, 2013 at 1:14 am #

    Hi Dr. Garber,

    The wonderful, ever-useful VIN recently informed me of your site, and I’m very glad for it! I’m a small animal veterinarian practicing in southern CA and considering transitioning to a public health-related career- I’m thinking of applying for epidemiology PhD programs for a 2015 start. I’m interested in infectious disease epi with a focus on emerging and neglected zoonotic diseases (especially those originating from livestock). I spent two vet school summers in Uganda working on a sleeping sickness eradication project, and noticed this article with interest- I don’t have an excess of vacation time, but would be very interested in learning more about how I may be involved.

    Many thanks,

    • Elliott December 9, 2013 at 7:01 am #

      Hey Julianne, thanks for your comment! That’s awesome that VIN sent you over here. I used to be a member and used it all the time until the Army let’s its group subscription expire.

      Sounds like you already have the experience and genuine interest in the field in order to make this happen. You probably know that Davis has a great program, but there are lots of other good schools too.

      The best way to get involved with this particular work that Veterinarians Without Borders is doing is to e-mail them at vwb.usa[at]

      Just checked out your photography website — you have some beautiful photos there!

      Good luck and stay in touch.

      • Kamile June 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

        Good afternoon,

        My name`s Kamile Kraujalyte. I study veterinary medicine In Lithuania in Europe. I`m in a 5 student year. I will be graduated in february in 2014. This summer i will have my internship in equine clinic in France. I have a bit experience with cows and pigs too and im planning my future with large animals treatment. I`m intrested in veterinarians without borders project after my graduating.

        Best regards


  3. Will Gentry July 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    Hey Dr. Garber,

    A good friend of mine directed me to your website after we had a talk about inspiration. Im a third year veterinary student from Mississippi. As far as experience with agriculture, I was raised on a small cow-calf operation. Our family has tried our hand at raising most livestock species over the years (driven primarily by my early childhood interest in animals). Fortunately my dad has owned/managed multiple stockyards since I was born so my interest was easily fed. Anyways… I have never been very positive about vet school and my career path because I haven’t been able to really find the direction I feel called for. Spent a couple months in South Africa a little over a year ago and found a passion in conservation and have never shook my love for agriculture… Im rambling, but I catch my next break from school at the end of October and do not have to return until February. My question for you is do you think y’all could use me? Hopeful I can find a little direction during my off time.


  4. bukamba nelson July 17, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    Am a veterinary student year 2frm Uganda makerere university I rilly love to be innovative in dis field en I will be glad to join you and explore more field

  5. Bukamba nelson July 27, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

    Hi dr garber this bukamba nelson a vet student in year three now i sent ma comment but you ddnt reply me

  6. Jordan July 13, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    Hello Dr. Garner,
    I am a 3rd year veterinary student in the United States and have been researching the Peace Corps and Vets Without Borders for a while now. I would be interested in participating in some such activity after I graduate.

    • Jordan July 13, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

      –autocorrect strikes again. Dr. Garber *

  7. Nyombi Nicholas November 2, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

    Hello Dr Garber I am Nyombi Nicholas a 3rd year veterinary medicine student in Uganda, i would like to get a chance to contribute to the livestock production in the country through your on going program, i hope i’ll get a chance to work with Veteriarians without borders, so that i get to help my community in an informed manner.

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