The African Small Companion Animal Network (AFSCAN) has launched a distance learning educational programme.

AFSCAN, an initiative from the Foundation of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), aims to advance standards of veterinary care through aiding the creation of a sustainable network of companion animal vets, associations and specialist groups in sub-Saharan Africa.

Its new distance learning programme, financially supported by global veterinary supplier Kruuse, provides access to a range of continuing education resources offered by other supporters via North American Veterinary Community‘s (NAVC’s) VetFolio platform, including Vetstream’s point of care information Canis and Felis and proceedings from WSAVA Congresses, on computers and internet-connected devices donated by UK veterinary practices and repurposed by UK charity Computers4Africa. 

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) is also supporting the project.

AFSCAN says it is also moving ahead with setting up veterinary associations in Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda, with the aim of having accepted the first of them into WSAVA membership at WSAVA World Congress in Bangkok in May.

The network has One Health as a focus and it has been looking at the differing approaches to rabies control in African countries.

It has also discussed the need for greater education, especially for children. It says the expansion of vaccine banks should be a priority.

It also plans a small companion animal academic research award to support a defined clinical research project related to cats or dogs.

Gabriel Varga, chairman of the AFSCAN board and director of business operations for north Europe for Zoetis – a major supporter of WSAVA – said that in the six months since AFSCAN was launched, it had built a committed community of experts and partner organisations who shared its goals.

“We are grateful to them all for their support,” Dr Varga said.

“Working together, we will advance the veterinary profession across Africa and, in so doing, improve the lives of millions of animals and humans. With the foundations of our work now firmly in place, we are looking forward to working towards our goals in the months ahead.”

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