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Morehead State’s Dr. Philip Prater Trains Veterinary Technician Students in Haiti

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Morehead State University
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Morehead State Professor of Veterinary Science, Dr. Philip Prater, recently traveled to Haiti to train veterinary technology students. 

Prater spent July 4-11 in Haiti providing animal health training to 20 Haitian veterinary technical students. The students were working toward their certification as veterinary agents in Haiti, where they will provide the bulk of veterinary medical care for companion animals, livestock, horses and poultry. 

"I have always felt blessed to have learned skills that can actually help animals and the people who depend on them to survive. Much of the world does not have a supermarket that they can just pop into to grab some grocery items," Prater said. "Most of the world has to raise the animals that will provide them any source of nourishment. If those animals are not healthy, then families will go hungry. I am so fortunate to be able to use my God-given skills to help people in impoverished places to be able to sustain a steady source of protein, especially for their young growing children." 

The students are housed and trained at a facility in Des Chapelle, Haiti, called AG Horizons, a private training institute. It is directed by Mr. Franso Fracciterne, a Haitian agriculturalist who oversees logistics for the training sessions. AG Horizons provides housing, lecture facilities, and laboratories for developing the essential skills that veterinary agents will need to function effectively in their specific regions of the country. 

The MSU Bookstore, Hinton Mills, and the West Liberty Veterinary Clinic contributed to Prater's efforts by donating veterinary equipment and supplies and clothing for Prater's students.  

This is the first time Prater has participated in the training program, but he first visited Haiti in 2010 to aid in rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of a massive earthquake that devastated the island nation and caused more than 300,000 deaths and left a million people homeless.

According to Prater, most Haitian families depend on their poultry and livestock to survive. Prater trained the students using a curriculum designed by Fracciterne and Dr. Lee Ann Bergland-Fosdick, associate missionary with Christian Veterinary Missions.

The curriculum helps students: 

  • Improve food security
  • Control the spread of infectious diseases in animals and people
  • Establish guidelines for treatment and control of internal and external parasites in horses, poultry and livestock
  • Train veterinary agents to teach farmers how to best use vaccines and therapeutic agents for sick animals
  • Establish a sustainable, safe food supply
  • Establish solid and effective partnerships between AG Horizons and agencies outside Haiti to provide teachers and supplies for optimal instruction of veterinary agents
  • Improve animal health management practices that result in healthier, more productive livestock 

Prater also provided training in herd health management, parasite control and vaccinations for more than 170 cattle, goats and horses owned by residents in the community surrounding the training facility. 
"I was so impressed by the students there, who see their training as precious knowledge," Prater said. "The skills that they learned will actually help them provide for their families, which is so critical since the average Haitian worker makes about $2 per day." 

He added that, despite the internal political tensions in Haiti, he's proud of the work he did there and hopes it will empower the students he worked with to improve lives in their communities.  

"It was truly remarkable as if there was a 'divinely placed dome of protection' around us while we were there doing this important work," Prater said. "AG Horizons and CVM supplied a great network of people who shuttled us out of harm's way and to the airport without issue. Haiti is a desperate nation and has been in a continuous cycle of corruption, poverty and despair for two centuries. The hope that the team has is that we have established a foundation for educational, financial and spiritual growth that will instill hope in the veterinary agents to go forth into their communities and be agents of change for the people and animals they will serve."   

To learn more about Prater's work in Haiti, contact him at p.prater@moreheadstate.edu or call 606-783-9364. 

To learn more about MSU's veterinary technology programs, visit http://www.moreheadstate.edu/vettech or email agsi@moreheadstate.edu or call 606-783-2662.

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