Project Manager Malawi
Since 2017, Madeline Nyamwanza, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Science, has been delivering VETS UNITED training in Malawi to college students through a series of field practicals to enhance their practical skills. She grew up in a home that had a lot of animals such as cattle, dogs, cats, chickens, turkeys just to mention a few. She started interacting with animals from a very young age and always found it painful and frustrating to lose one of them because of the little knowledge they had on how to manage animal diseases. To this day, it still gives her therefore great satisfaction to see healthy animals and happy farmers as a result of her work.
Background: Malawi, Africa
Area: 118.480 km²
Population: About 18 million
Official languages: English, Chichewa
173 out of 188 on Human Development Index (2014)
Ca. 50 million domestic and farm animals
Ca. 1.5 million stray dogs
Only approx. 30 veterinarians countrywide
WTG: How would you describe the animal welfare situation in the country?
MN: There is a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve animal welfare in Malawi. Addressing issues of animal welfare is a challenge due to the extremely low availability of veterinary services and low levels of skills and knowledge on animal health and welfare among farmers. Training institutions lack comprehensive animal welfare modules in their curriculum and there are limited resources (human, logistical, financial) for a practical field/early clinical induction.
WTG: How has the quality of the education and animal welfare in general changed so far through the VETS UNITED education program?
MN: The VETS UNITED training has led to improved animal welfare in more than one way. Farmers now have a better understanding of how to take care of their animals and we have seen most respond to the training by improving housing, seeking veterinary care when their animals get sick and penning animals at night. Students now have better practical skills seen by improved animal handling, confidence when approaching animals and they have generally become more empathic towards animals.
WTG: What are your hopes for the Animal health and welfare situation in the country in 5 to 10 years?
MN: My hope for the future is to see students receiving adequate animal welfare training through early clinical induction and curriculum reviews which incorporate comprehensive animal welfare modules.Furthermore, I would like to overall see more people being trained as Vets and para-vets to fill in the gaps that we currently have. Likewise, there will hopefully soon be more opportunities for people in the animal health profession to attend continuous professional development seminars as well as a platform where farmers and animal lovers can get basic training.