Dr RESHAD ASGHARI
Dr RESHAD ASGHARI
Nowzad’s mission was originally to help soldiers rescue stray animals they had befriended whilst serving in Afghanistan. However, their goal has evolved over the years into helping the many animals and people of the country through programmes for working animals, humane and effective street animal population control, free veterinary treatment and care at their clinic, running the hospital and sanctuary, and various education initiatives.
The Nowzad Veterinary Hospital in Kabul where Dr Reshad works as Chief Veterinarian is the first and only animal hospital in all of Afghanistan. They have treated, vaccinated (against rabies amongst other diseases) and neutered many thousands of animals since Nowzad started their operations in Afghanistan in 2007. Nowzad started work combatting rabies and has saved many human and animal lives, earning them the Global Alliance for Rabies Control Award for Asia in 2017 and the title of Champion Veterinary Clinic in 2023. Nowzad’s hospital provides free rabies vaccinations, spay-neuter procedures and treatment as standard to all animals passing through their doors.
Dr Reshad manages four other vets and the team responds daily to a range of emergency call-outs for animals suffering from illness, disease or injuries – often from being hit by cars on the busy roads. Nowzad are fortunate to have facilities at their hospital that allow them to isolate, quarantine, treat and rehabilitate many of these poor animals. They are often then adopted out to Afghan families, rehomed or released at sites where they were rescued from.
Recently, Nowzad has partnered with the Ministry of Education in Kabul to deliver a programme of rabies prevention and animal welfare to school children throughout Kabul city, incorporating lessons on how to treat animals with compassion and kindness. This is particularly important since it is the children that most usually have responsibility for the family’s animals including livestock, working and domestic animals. Nowzad also invite primary aged children to their hospital to interact with their various animal patients, helping to further install this sense of caring for animals. Dr Reshad also often hosts veterinary students and interns from the Ministry of Agriculture for additional training from him and his veterinary team, allowing them to have the opportunity to observe large animal surgery.
Sadly, there are serious human and animal welfare problems surrounding working animals. There are approximately 6,000 working donkeys, horses and mules working in Kabul and the surrounding areas and most are owned by the poorest members of society. These animals are often subjected to overwork, injury, malnutrition and neglect. The Working Animal Programme that Dr Reshad established in early 2022 provides free veterinary and farrier treatment, purpose-made padded harnesses, portable stabling, anti-parasite treatments and vaccinations. At sites where horses and donkeys are traded in large numbers or worked in very difficult conditions (Kabul’s brick kilns for example), Dr Reshad works closely with the owners and their families to help them try to break the cycle of poor animal husbandry and harmful traditional practices.
Nowzad also runs the country’s only equine sanctuary, on the periphery of Kabul. Dr Reshad and his team care for 14 long-term horse and donkey residents there, all of which were fortunate to be rescued from a life of hardship and suffering.
Dr Reshad and the team have also developed a range of rabies awareness materials and equine welfare posters that are regularly displayed at busy sites around Kabul or distributed to members of the public on days such as World Animal Day or World Rabies Day.