By Staff Writer
Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) students in Doctor of Veterinary Medicine have benefitted from a two week international animal welfare training facilitated by Vets United (WTG) from Germany, Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (LSPCA) and the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development (DAHLD).
The pioneer first year beneficiary students include 11 males and 3 females who enrolled for the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program in 2014 that is to run for five year period. When qualified, they will be accredited by the Board of the Veterinary Surgeons of Malawi and therefore form part of the veterinary professional fraternity.
Speaking at the launch of the program Patsani Kumambala, LUANAR’S Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture said the training has come at the right time to strengthen capacity among students in animal welfare issues. Kumambala added that it was very imperative for LUANAR as an institution of higher learning to partner with other players as the program is still in its infancy stage. As such collaboration with other stakeholders will help students to acquire hands on experience on matters related to veterinary medicine.
The introduction of the program comes at a time when more animal science specialists are on demand to beef up the capacity gaps in the civil service, private sector, research and academic institutions. This will strengthen their role in animal welfare and veterinary sciences. Furthermore, it will also address issue related to public health in case of rabies control among other things.
A Vets United team that travelled all the way from German led by Ruprecht Herbst said during a tour of the animal farm that it was great to come to Malawi and spare time to train the first year students. He added that Vets United-WTG is planning to come back to Malawi next year March and continue from where they have left and ensure the students get extra hands on experience in other animal welfare issues.
LSPCA and LUANAR staff also equipped the students in rabies control, veterinary ethics, dog population management, fundamentals of veterinary practice in domesticated animals among many other areas of specialization.
This was done through a combination of both theory and practical sessions including laboratory experiences to allow the students gain hands on experience on a wider aspect of their veterinary practices.
LSCPA surgical clinic was also used to conduct other sessions during the training. The students were also involved in various community works to sharpen their skills so they pass their acquired expertise to local populace to whom they are trained to serve.
Chief Animal Health Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture Julius Chulu said, “the animal health industry is now on high demand; it has now grown and need more well trained professionals to meet the industry demands. As a country we had no veterinary school at tertiary level and students have been travelling to other countries like Zambia and Australia to get such kind of training,” said Chulu in an interview on the sidelines of the training.
Project Manager for WTG Dr. Ruprecht Herbst said the training will uplift the profile of animal welfare issues for both students and various institutions they will work for in the future.
LSPCA Program Director Richard Ssuna, reiterated the need to strengthen the collaboration between LSPCA and the LUANAR beyond the training of training of the students but to also collaborate on the establishing of Veterinary Training Hospital in Lilongwe at the proposed National Animal Welfare Centre.