Cara Newberry - Tanzania
Entering veterinary school, I knew I wanted to someday work internationally and pursue a career involving public health and conservation. Lucky for me, I had the opportunity to explore just that in my very first year. During one of my very first courses, Dr. Woutrina Smith was teaching us about her ongoing work in Tanzania, including the Health for Animals and Livelihood Improvement (HALI) project and the Rx One Health course. I realized this was an amazing opportunity to explore my career aspirations and I had to get involved. I set up a meeting with Dr. Smith where we were able to discuss her work, my interests, and the Rx course. I was fortunate enough to work with her and Dr. Lane, both of the One Health Institute to develop a research project with the HALI team which would complement the Rx One Health course and set me up for a summer working in Tanzania, learning and applying One Health skills.
Upon arriving in Tanzania, I traveled to Iringa to work with the HALI team, Iringa Municipal Council, and the Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency (TVLA) on my STAR project. I attended local government meetings where I was able to meet poultry producers and explain my research project. Along with veterinarians, community engagement officials, and local government ward officers, we visited 12 poultry producers to collect 120 cloacal samples from healthy chickens and information about the farm’s husbandry practices. Next, I worked in the TVLA laboratory to isolate E. coli from the samples and test it for susceptibility to seven commonly used antibiotics. We found very high levels of resistance to the two most commonly used antibiotics reported on farms, tetracycline, and sulfas. I also visited local veterinary shops to learn about antibiotic use and knowledge of resistance in the region. I returned back to Iringa after the Rx One Health course to present the research findings and suggestions for reducing antimicrobial resistance. Through my research project, I not only gained valuable research design, fieldwork, and microbiology experience but also had the opportunity to learn from some incredible community engagement experts who have been working with local farmers for a decade and have so much knowledge to share.
After four weeks in Iringa, I traveled back to Dar es Salaam to join the Rx One Health course. Over the next four weeks, our 22 participants from 9 different countries traveled throughout Tanzania learning about various One Health issues with a hands-on approach. We quickly became a family through sampling rodents at the crack of dawn, dawning full PPE under the blazing afternoon sun, designing musical public health campaigns, driving around Ruaha National Park to find giraffes to evaluate for skin disease, and holding swimming lessons on the beautiful beaches of Mafia Island. With amazing mentors and classmates, I learned how to approach these seemingly unsolvable but incredibly important One Health issues, how to develop solutions and turn those into action.
My summer working in One Health taught me more than I could have imagined, both personally and professionally. I am so inspired by the One Health work being done in Tanzania, the great ideas and projects proposed my Rx classmates and the future of One Health. I absolutely loved living in Tanzania and learning about cultures and countries of my classmates, and already can’t wait to go back. I am so grateful to my amazing mentors, both in Davis and Tanzania, and the Office for Global Programs that made my experience possible.