The African Small Companion Animal Network (AFSCAN) has called on the veterinary sector to help support a programme to promote small animal clinical research relevant to the African continent.

[L-R] Sharon Roberts (Computers4Africa), vet Adebowale Ajao, Gabriel Varga (chair of AFSCAN board), vet Olufunke Adebayo, Michael Day (AFSCAN board member), vet Paschal Umeakuana and Martin Lassen (Kruuse).

The network’s new clinical research programme aims to provide vets working in African universities with funding for locally relevant investigations related to small animal disease or welfare. It will also foster research links between African veterinary schools and those overseas.

Additional funding will be allocated to encourage veterinary students to spend time in research laboratories through the extramural bursary scheme, which the Petplan Charitable Trust has become the first organisation to support.

AFSCAN Board member Michael Day, who is also vice-president of the WSAVA Foundation, said: “Our scientific projects programme will address an unmet need in the African academic community and help improve our knowledge base of diseases affecting small companion animals in Africa. We hope it will also foster the next generation of veterinary researchers and highlight the importance of investigating diseases in these species.”

Over its first year, a number of organisations have offered support for the network’s projects, including Zoetis, Computers 4 Africa, BSAVA, Kruuse and Vetstream – which, together, form the AFSCAN Consortium. However, in order to achieve its aims, AFSCAN would be “very happy to hear from other potential sponsors”, claims Prof Day.

Gabriel Varga, chairman of the AFSCAN board, said: “It’s been a great first year with progress made on many fronts. We’re delighted at the enthusiasm shown by African veterinarians to get involved and to embrace the support we have been able to provide.

Dr Varga concluded: “African veterinarians really need our help to drive the advances in veterinary care for all species that will improve the health and welfare of both animals and humans. It’s great to be offering them support and I’d like to thank Zoetis and all of our Consortium members for their commitment this year.”

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