Two vets trained in Kabul | Photo credit: Mayhew Afghanistan

Nurturing Veterinarian Opportunities for Afghan Women

Dr. Zahra Ensafi, Mayhew Afghanistan

Dr. Zahra Ensafi, a graduate of the Kabul University of Veterinary Science, and Dr. Razia Mohammadi, a graduate of the Mazar University-Veterinary Medicine, are two young veterinary graduates who have joined the Mayhew staff and are contributing to the success of Mayhew Afghanistan’s dog project. Both have chosen a career in veterinary medicine even though it has not been a traditional choice nor an easy one for an Afghan woman.

Dr. Razia Mohammadi, Mayhew Afghanistan

For both doctors, it was their commitment to contribute to animal health and welfare which drove them to enter and successfully complete their veterinary training. For example, Dr. Zahra decided to be a veterinarian when she was just a young girl because she was concerned about the treatment of street dogs in Kabul. Her parents encouraged her in this choice, but her peers did not understand why she wanted to spend five years studying veterinary medicine. While both doctors encountered peer challenges in pursuing veterinary medicine, there were other women in their classes with the same dream.

Dr. Zahra Ensafi assisting in surgery. Mayhew Afghanistan

Both doctors stated that their assistance with rabies vaccinations, sterilizations and veterinary care for dogs has benefits for

Dr. Razia Mohammadi in training. Mayhew Afghanistan

both the people and the animals of Kabul. As noted by Dr. Zahra, the people of Kabul will “never be afraid of a healthy dog” because healthy dogs will not pass on zoonotic diseases such as rabies. Furthermore, through dog sterilizations, the dog population is being brought under control and it is likely that they will reduce the number of roaming dogs on the streets of Kabul.

In the end, it is important for Afghanistan to build veterinary capacity. The young veterinarians, now gaining important experience under the tutelage of Dr. Jalil Mohammadzai of the Mayhew Afghanistan program, may end up starting and running their own clinics and veterinary practices to the benefit of Afghanistan.
“My favorite part of my job is when the dogs recover from surgery. I always check them and, if possible, pet them.” Dr. Razia Mohammadi.

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