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  1. Issues in Veterinary Science Nick Kriek, Dean Faculty of Veterinary Science University of Pretoria

  2. What is veterinary science? The veterinary profession exists globally and plays a critical role in many fields pertaining to the health of animals and the health and welfare of humankind

  3. The veterinary profession in South Africa • 2500 registered veterinarians • 70% in private practice • 70% of those in small animal practice • 30% in public practice • 150 Specialists

  4. Companion animal practice • Dogs and cats • Other animals kept as pets • Horses • Horse-racing industry

  5. Other types of private practice • Mixed practice • Production animal practice • Cattle • Small stock • Pigs • Poultry • Wildlife

  6. Public practice • Governmental regulatory veterinary services • Disease surveillance • Diagnostic laboratories • Epidemiology, GIS and other data-management systems • Disease control

  7. Public practice • Certification • Import-export control • Policy development • Public health • Research

  8. Public practice • Academia • Para-statals (ARC, MRC, NRF, etc) • NGOs (PPF, PFI, MPI, Organised agriculture and related activities, etc) • Industry • Pharmaceutical companies • Feed industry

  9. Public practice - CPAs • Adequate and sustainable amounts of food for human consumption • Safe food • Control of zoonotic diseases • Control of serious animal diseases (TADs) • Bio-terrorism • Veterinary public health

  10. Public practice - CPAs • Diagnostic services • Import/export control • Conservation of biodiversity • Environmental health • Wildlife, livestock, farming and communities interface • Research

  11. Critical factors: contribution by the veterinary profession • Enabling the economic production of • Sustainable and sufficient amounts of • Safe animal protein, and • By-products needed by various manufacturing sectors • Veterinary public health • Increasing the health and welfare of the communities of South Africa indirectly through poverty reduction and wealth creation, and • Animal welfare

  12. Developing world • Implementation of policies to drive development: • Poverty reduction • Provision of sustainable sources of animal protein • Control of zoonoses • Control of important diseases of animals (epidemic and TADs), and • Primary health care specifically to benefit humans

  13. Problems with delivery

  14. Service delivery: perceptions • Regulatory services • The current disarray because of decentralisation • Disease surveillance • Inadequate disease surveillance because of • Decentralised management • The different priorities, standards and norms • Lack of human and financial resources, and • Decrease in quality and functionality of diagnostic laboratories • Data management and GIS systems are inadequate

  15. Diagnostic services • Decline of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI) as a national reference laboratory (Ministerial Report – Minister of Science and Technology - The status of research at the OVI, OBP and the Faculty of Veterinary Science) • Provincial, regional and state veterinary laboratories: Lack of • Human resources • Infrastructure • Laboratory apparatus, and to sustain the activities on an adequate level

  16. National and provincial departments of agriculture • Norms and standards differ • Constitutional dilemma • Sustainability of current system • Impact on the control of diseases • Impact on acceptability of certification • International status

  17. Research Decline in research capacity: • OVI • Historical institutional poor research output of the Veterinary Faculties

  18. Rural private practice • Decline in numbers and involvement • Universal trend • Reasons varied and complex • Impact on commercial and emerging farming sectors

  19. Numerous vacancies for veterinarians and technologists Pronounced effect on the standards of services provided The post establishments do not necessarily reflect the optimal numbers of employees Little or no provision made for career paths and No provision for recognition of specialists Perceptions that employment in veterinary services and in public health in particular, is not an acceptable career path Human resources

  20. The training of veterinarians

  21. Veterinary training • The nature of training, and • The activities of the veterinary profession cannot remain as they are at the moment • Should they not change • The profession may find itself irrelevant in a society where the necessary services may then be offered by other professions and disciplines more suited to address the various needs

  22. Veterinary education in SA: Regional and international issues • Regulatory veterinary medicine • Risk management • Epidemiology • Certification • Import-export control

  23. Veterinary education in SA: Regional and international issues • Diagnostics • Zoonoses • Data management • Veterinary public health

  24. Veterinary education in SA: Drivers • Impossible to fully train a veterinarian that will be able to address all the needs of the various sectors • Future of the current veterinary curriculum • Expanding needs and levels of sophistication of the various sectors

  25. Veterinary education: perceptions • A perceived bias in the training programme on companion animals and private practice • The single faculty causes an unacceptable degree of inbreeding • Faculty lacks the capacity to address the diverse needs of the South African livestock sector and of Government • Inadequately financed • A lack of competency in research

  26. Veterinary education: perceptions • Too few black and coloured veterinarians • Training is too long and expensive • Inappropriate training from the perspective of Government and certain sectors of industry and organised agriculture • The expanding content and sophistication of veterinary training

  27. Options in veterinary training • Tracking or streaming within a single curriculum • A degree of pre-graduate ‘specialization’, or • Eventually, the development of two or more independent degree programmes

  28. Options in veterinary training • Two or more different programmes • Basic generic (core) training • Emphasis on different fields of activity: • Large animal practice with emphasis on management (financial and farm) • Mixed animal practice • Regulatory veterinary medicine • Wildlife and environmental health practice • Small animal practice • Equine practice

  29. Needs to implement changes in training programme • Changes in the Veterinary and Para-veterinary Act • Perceptions of the profession and the general public • Political awareness and will to change • Urgency of the matter – time-lag

  30. Specific issues to deal with

  31. Specific issues to deal with • A total lack of awareness of what veterinarians do • A general perception that veterinarians are doctors of pets • There is a perceived low status of the profession in society • The income of veterinarians, be they in private of public practice, does not compare favourably with those of the professions • The working hours of veterinarians are long and the work is physical

  32. Specific issues to deal with • The training period is long and the programme is expensive • The programme is difficult and the volume of material overwhelming • There are perceptions that the University of Pretoria imposes special restrictions to limit access to black students

  33. Specific issues to deal with • There is a perception that the University of Pretoria remains an exclusively white, Afrikaans university • There is a perception that the environment on the Onderstepoort campus is foreign and does not cater for the needs of black students • There are perceptions that there may be elements of racism on the Onderstepoort campus that make life difficult for the black students

  34. Veterinary specialization • Postgraduate programmes and specialization • There is a lack of adequate post-graduate programmes in certain fields of activity • Areas needed by Government to fulfil its needs and obligations • International criteria pertaining to certification

  35. Proposed actions (Recruitment strategy document: Dept of Agriculture and Land Affairs)

  36. Proposed actions • Create an integrated and fully functional national state veterinary service • Develop a marketing plan • Create awareness • Develop a comprehensive organizational diagram outlining the full complement of required staff

  37. Proposed actions • Develop a financial plan • Develop and implement a suitable recruitment programme • Attend to the needs of transformation • Attend to the needs of Government • Consider the possibility of attracting trained veterinarians from SADC countries and elsewhere in Africa

  38. Proposed actions • Consider utilising veterinarians already retired to act as mentors • Facilitate student recruitment from the designated groups • Facilitate the development and implementation of suitable formal training programmes

  39. Proposed actions • Recruit suitable employees • Improve levels of training • Develop and implement a retention strategy • Improve working conditions • Develop adequate infrastructure commensurate with the expected levels of activity and within the context of accreditation and international quality control requirements

  40. Proposed actions • Liaise with role players • Facilitate adequate and appropriate training • Facilitate adaptation of formal training programmes • Ensure financial security and sustainability

  41. Sustainability of the Faculty of Veterinary Science • Recognition that it is the only faculty of its kind in SA • Recognition of its relevance • Recognition of its strategic importance for the country • Recognition of its vulnerability • Recognition of its financial insecurity

  42. Financial issues

  43. Income and Expenditure Faculty of Veterinary Science for 2001

  44. Comparison of Subsidy Generated for 2003 and 2004

  45. Faculty of Veterinary Science: Actual income and expenditure for 2004