Community based vets?
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CTA. 1999. Community based vets?. Spore 80. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48374
workshop on 'Delivery of animal health services in Eastern Africa', held in Arusha, Tanzania in December 1998
For the last 50 years, government veterinary services in Eastern Africa have operated with the mandate of providing both clinical and preventive livestock health care. But, as part of general liberalisation, government services are being restructured and scaled down. The same liberalisation has opened up the pharmaceuticals market. The way is wide open for privatised animal health care, but it faces the classical problem of being economically unviable, especially in areas of extensive, and nomadic, livestock production. At a workshop on 'Delivery of animal health services in Eastern Africa', held in Arusha, Tanzania in December 1998, one keynote paper analysed the problems of ensuring sound livestock care in an environment where the absence of sufficient qualified vets has led to a 'black market' in veterinary drugs. 'Livestock suffers, major diseases are not treated. The veterinary profession suffers, losing the initiative to untrained traders, and livestock owners cannot get the advice and service they need'. The seminar was co-organised by Austrian Development Cooperation, the CTA and VetAid, a specialised NGO, to examine how private services could be encouraged. One key area addressed was how to create an enabling environment, principally through better regulations on the uncontrolled sale of drugs, and control of competition from government vetsand community-based services, which have grown significantly in recent years. The growth in community-based services was the focus for some creative discussion around how to blend decentralised NGO and pastoralist-run services with qualified, private specialists. This included the use of participatory rural appraisal tools (which increase the involvement of local communities in analysing and meeting their own needs) with profit-oriented business plans: all perfectly legitimate according to some participants. Less explicitly discussed, but equally fundamental was the status of the professional vet, and his ability to engage in effective dialogue with a livestock owner as an equal partner. With this in mind, changes in training curricula were considered, as well as exchanges between vets, para-vets and local stakeholders. The conclusions? More regulation to strengthen the public sector, more control of drugs trade, more information exchange, and emphasis on professional standards and incentives in the private sector. The 91 participants represented all stakeholder positions, ranging from livestock owners and field workers, through pharmaceutical companies to universities and donors. The ACP countries represented were Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.