The US 2nd Brigade Combat Team have distributed medical supplies to Iraqi veterinarians in Kirkuk with the aim of supporting agricultural production, which is crucial for the local economy.
Captain Kimi Damassia, who led the supply effort, said that northern Iraq relies heavily on the success of its agriculture, specifically cattle, sheep and poultry products.
"In Iraq, there is a shortage of veterinary medicine," said Damassia. "In northern Iraq, farming is a way of life with 80% of the economy in Kirkuk province relying on agriculture."
The medical supplies consisted of refrigerators for newly established clinics, antibiotics and vaccinations against viral diseases.
After visiting one of Kirkuk's animal processing facilities, Damassia and the head of the provincial Veterinary Association denoted the need for additional medical supplies.
The project distributed micro grants to 17 veterinarians from around Kirkuk province and was funded through the Commander's Emergency Relief Program which invests money in the local community.
"Each micro grant was approx. $2,500, which was used to purchase the necessary supplies from local vendors and distributed to the veterinarians," Damassia told.
Dr. Ameera, an Iraqi veterinarian who has a clinic in Hawijah, Iraq, said the supplies were a welcome addition to what she already had.
The supplies will also mean economic development. Increased business at the clinics will provide additional income for families, and the treatment and vaccination of livestock will lead to a higher quality of food which sells at a higher cost at the markets.