The road to Kintore.
There are a number of very remote communities which, as smaller communities or outstations, are unable to access regular sources of funding for animal management programs. While there may be several factors which contribute to reasons for this, these communities and their animals share the same needs, and still require similar attention to animal health and management services, as occurs in other locations. Ensuring that veterinary services and education is available to these very remote Indigenous communities is vital, and a fundamental component of AMRRIC’s approach.
Requests for assistance are often made to AMRRIC identifying health concerns for pets or uncontrolled reproduction occurring. In response to need, we have established a Donor Funded Program as the catalyst for contributing to meeting the companion animal management needs in these often very remote communities. In addition to addressing short-term needs, in the long term, our donor funded programs also aim to allow AMRRIC to establish strong relationships with these communities and catalyse opportunities to create sustainable ongoing programs for the animals’ and communities’ benefit.
Following months of planning, our Donor Program took place from the 1st to the 4th of October 2019. An AMRRIC team visited the beautiful and very remote desert area communities of Kiwirrkurra in Western Australia, and Kintore in the Northern Territory. A team of seven took to the road for the eleven hour drive from Alice Springs – Kiwirrkurra is one of Australia’s most remote communities.
As with most journey’s it was not without its share of fun, laughter and drama; including tyre repairs, broken car windows (football related), very hot days, campfire chats at night, and wonderful days spent with the community residents and their companion animals.
Dr Bob Irving was on hand to assist with liaising with the communities, given his 12 year history of providing temporary injectable contraceptive services to both communities’ animals. With the generosity of AMRRIC’s donors, the team were able to enhance Dr Bob’s work, and provide these communities’ animals access to permanent surgical reproductive control. Both communities enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to have their animals seen and desexed, and over the four days, the team provided surgical desexing to 49 dogs and 3 cats. The majority of dogs in both communities were desexed following the program – a fantastic outcome from a single visit! After spending three days in Kiwirrkurra, the team journeyed to Kintore, and Program Manager Dr Jan Allen was pleased to report after some challenges with their accommodation, that they were met with freshly baked scones from some very helpful residents.
We are thrilled to also report, that since our Donor Program to Kintore and Kiwirrkurra, MacDonnell Regional Council and PETstock, through their charity PETstock Assist, have partnered to provide a recurring surgical veterinary program to Kintore – a great outcome for everyone involved! PETstock were introduced to MacDonnell Regional Council through their first program to Papunya in 2019 which they attended alongside AMRRIC and Dr Michael Archinal. It gives the AMRRIC team great pleasure to support PETstock, as they become part of the collaborative long-term solution with these two communities.
AMRRIC is extremely grateful to our donors who, through their generosity, are contributing to improving the health and wellbeing of remote communities through improved access to veterinary service and responsible pet ownership education.
As we write this article, nearing the end of COVID-19 restrictions, more than ever donations to AMRRIC are vital to ensure we can continue to provide access to valuable services. This is now especially the case where travel restrictions have isolated communities and meant that regular veterinary programs have been postponed. If you would like to donate to AMRRIC and support future veterinary and education program delivery, you can securely donate directly to our organisation at www.amrric.org/donate. You can also stay involved with AMRRIC by becoming a member or volunteer, or liking us on Facebook. A video account of the of the Kintore & Kiwirrkurra trip will soon be published on AMRRIC’s social media, providing wonderful insight from the veterinary program team, into the remoteness, ruggedness and charm of these two wonderful, very remote communities.
AMRRIC would like to acknowledge and thank:
- for their ongoing support, AMRRIC Donors, whose donations to AMRRIC are committed 100% to directly funding veterinary programs and on-ground assistance for rural and remote Indigenous communities and their companion animals.
- for facilitation and participation, MacDonnell Regional Council, Ngaanyatjarra Health Services, Kiwirrikurra IPA staff, partner vets, vet nurses and AMRRIC volunteers for their time and services to enhance the programs outcomes.
- for their time and participation in the veterinary service program, the community residents of Kiwirrkurra and Kintore.