VETS UNITED in Uganda
Animal Welfare in Academic Education and Continuous Professional Development
The situation in Uganda is similar to other African countries. There are numerous regulations in place, but the authorities lack resources and capacities for implementation. Only a few of about 1250 registered veterinarians work in practice. The VPPs who mainly provide health care for farm animals, are often poorly trained. The majority of households keep farm animals, and more than 80% of the population live on agricultural sector work. Despite most people are not sensitised to animal welfare issues. Typical animal welfare issues include maltreatment, poor housing conditions and insufficient veterinary care.
VETS UNITED is running two projects in Uganda: Animal Welfare Training for veterinary students at Makerere University Uganda and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for veterinarians and VPPs in cooperation with BAM Animal Clinics.
Training programme at Makerere University
Facts and figures
Focus: Animal Welfare in Academic Education
Project manager: Dr Gabriel
Start of the programme: 2018 (Workshops since 2016)
Partner: CoVAB College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources & Biosecurity at Makerere University, Kampala
Target group: Students of the courses Veterinary Medicine, Animal Production, Wildlife Health & Management, and Livestock Health & Industry
Course: Animal welfare lectures and practical exercises in mobile clinics, based on the WTS VETS UNITED Animal Welfare Training Guide
Conditions in the country: 69.8 million farm animals (Census 2008), especially cattle, goats and chickens; about 670 registered veterinarians and 1.500 paravets
The project at the Makerere University Uganda is one of the VETS UNITED projects which is most integrated into the training facility.
Due to lack of animal welfare sensitisation and insufficient training, there is a big knowledge gap regarding animal welfare topics among vets and VPPs. Although animal welfare has been part of the curriculum since 2011, it has barely been taught. The project was established after several successful animal welfare workshops for students which created a high demand for animal welfare training with professional mentoring and integration into institutional structures.
Within the project the curricula of the courses veterinary medicine, animal production, wildlife health and management, farm animal health and business programs have been revised and numerous animal welfare topics have been added. The revised curricula were submitted to the National Council for Higher Education for final approval in 2020. Accreditation has been delayed and is expected in late 2022.
In addition, animal welfare lectures and hands-on labs are offered in small animal clinics, livestock clinics, and wildlife clinics for students. The course has been in high demand ever since and is characterized by professional supervision and functioning institutional structures.
Since 2019, Makerere University has a dedicated lecturer of animal welfare. In 2021 a second lecturer in animal welfare had been employed. With these two newly created positions, the university now has sufficient teaching staff to teach animal welfare to the planned extent in all four degree programs. Hence the full handover of the project to Makerere University will be completed in 2023.
The programme’s close institutional cooperation with the university leads to different synergies. For example, WTS supported the addition of a practical component to a research project on the incidence of Leptospirosis in Uganda in 2019. As part of this project, the tested animals were vaccinated and received treatment. Additionally, veterinarians from the region were trained in diagnosis and treatment of Leptospirosis.
Another project on animal welfare indicators in dairy farming started in 2020.
CPD programme with BAM Animal Clinics
Facts and figures
Focus: Animal welfare in CPD (Continuous Professional Development)
Project Manager: David Balondemu
Start of the programme: 2019 (Workshops since 2016
Partner: Bam Animal Clinics Iganga
Target group: veterinarians and VPPs
Course: Workshops on animal welfare and practical exercises based on the VETS UNITED Animal Welfare Training Guide
Conditions in the country: 86.4 million farm animals (MAAIF and UBOS, 2018), especially poultry (approx. 47.6 million), goats (approx. 16 million) and cattle (approx. 14.2 million); 1250 registered veterinarians (UVA, 2021), 1,500 paravets
The project in cooperation with Bam Animal Clinics is the first training project in the VETS UNITED programme.
Since 2016, individual animal welfare workshops for paravets have been conducted in Uganda in cooperation with Bam Animal Clinics. The project was expanded in 2019 to include animal welfare workshops as part of mandatory professional development training for veterinarians and VPPs. Before the start of the project, there was no further training on animal welfare in Uganda.
The project is based on the train-the-trainer concept - the training of professionals from the field, who in turn train the paravets on a regular basis. The project qualifies a total of 46 trainers (district veterinarians and other responsible persons) in 23 districts of Uganda, who in turn provide further training to the 240 paravets assigned to them. In 2019, the trainers were qualified by Bam Animal Clinics. In 2020/2021, they in turn trained the paravets working in their regions through animal welfare workshops.
In order to include these animal welfare workshops in the mandatory professional development training for veterinarians and VPPS, Bam Animal Clinics was recognized by the Uganda Veterinary Board (UVB) as an official training provider in 2018. Appropriate animal welfare topics for the workshops were identified and training materials were compiled based on the VETS UNITED training materials.
In 2021/2022, all 46 trainers will participate in a workshop to review and reinforce the topics. In addition, a further 120 VPPS will be trained. This means that 80% of all paravets in the pilot zone will have been qualified at the end of the project.
The aim is to develop a structured Animal Welfare Training for veterinary personnel, that will be part of the official CPD programme for Ugandan vets and VPPs. The Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) and the Uganda Veterinary Board (UVB) were involved in the development of the programme.