New program to improve vet service in remote Manitoba communities

Winnipeg Humane Society has partnered with the province on a new program to bring veterinary services to remote Manitoba communities.

The program, announced at a Monday morning news conference, is called One Health. It is aimed at helping address human health and safety, access to spay/neuter, animal health and to prevent disease and zoonotic transmission.

Greg Nesbitt, Manitoba’s minister of natural resources and northern development, said the province pledged $750,000 in funding to develop a five-year veterinary outreach program.

“The development of this veterinary outreach program will further improve animal health through preventative and educational measures,” he said.

“In partnership, we are committed to reducing the rising numbers of animal welfare cases and improving the health of animals through a One Health approach.”

WHS donors also pledged $450,000 to be spent on the program over three years.

Dr. Gina Bowen, WHS’ director of veterinary services, said pet owners have felt the burden over the last few years of the lack of access to veterinary care across the province.

“This increased funding for the One Health initiative allows us to increase access to vet care in communities outside of Winnipeg,” she said.

According to the society, the program is operating from a community-engaged and reconciliation framework to address the 19th Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action to close gaps in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

In 2021, WHS and its community partners and rescue organizations spayed and neutered nearly 375 animals from remote communities and vaccinated another 224 from 18 communities across the province. The goal of One Health is to expand on this work, WHS said.

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