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Mississippi veterinarians send supplies to Albania
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi veterinarians are sending scientific books, surgical instruments and X-ray machines to help an Albanian veterinary college recovering from the 1997 civil riots.
Drs. Fred Lehman and Hart Bailey, faculty members with Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, visited the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Higher Institute of Agriculture in Tirana, Albania, in March 2000. They were on a project, sponsored by MSU's Office of International Programs, investigating ways to improve food safety and animal health. They centered their efforts on the Veterinary Research Institute, which serves as a research and reference laboratory, but they also visited the country's veterinary college.
"The Albanian veterinary college has existed for 50 years but was nearly destroyed in the civil riots of 1997," Lehman said. "The library, computers and equipment were devastated. Once a very reputable school, its enrollment is now a third of what it used to be."
After the trip, Lehman and Bailey were eager to communicate the needs of their colleagues in Albania to Mississippi veterinarians. They began collecting any appropriate items veterinarians wanted to contribute. With help from a contract with the International Fertilizer Development Center, the Office of International Programs shipped 1,000 pounds of books, miscellaneous equipment and supplies to the Albanian veterinary college.
"About 90 percent of the shipment came from veterinary practitioners in Mississippi plus some MSU alumni and one veterinarian in California who heard about the project," Lehman said. "This would not have been possible without the concern and generosity of Mississippi veterinarians. Many have been involved firsthand in humanitarian opportunities in the past. Helping the Albanian college is like helping one of your own."
Bailey said they saw needs everywhere in Albania, but this was one need they thought they could do something about.
"The faculty literally had nothing except the building, but they were still teaching. The students looked so much like ours; they just didn't have any supplies," Bailey said.
For more information, contact: Dr. Fred Lehman, (662) 325-0655