The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Foundation is pushing on with efforts to help companion animal vets in Africa.

The foundation, which funds improvements in the veterinary care of companion animals worldwide through science and education, has been looking at how it can best help the vets through its African Small Companion Animal Network (AFSCAN).

AFSCAN, unveiled at BSAVA Congress earlier this year, aims to advance standards of veterinary care across Africa through a sustainable network of companion animal veterinarians, associations and specialist groups in sub-Saharan Africa.

The AFSCAN project board met delegates from Kenya, Uganda, Namibia and Nigeria at the regional office of the International Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Nairobi.

Members also visited the academics and students at the veterinary school at the University of Nairobi and met representatives from the One Health Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA) consortium.

The board is chaired by foundation president Gabriel Varga and includes Michael Day (University of Bristol and WSAVA Foundation); Theo Kanellos and Greg Andrews (Zoetis); Remo Lobetti (referral practitioner, South Africa) and Alex Thiermann (OIE).

Dr Varga said: “AFSCAN support will take the form of specific sub-projects providing new opportunities in veterinary continuing education, clinical veterinary research, infectious disease surveillance and control of canine rabies.”

He said African practitioners would be given access to the online educational content provided by the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) Vetfolio initiative with access to refurbished computers from the UK charity Computers for Africa.

Academic practitioners will also be encouraged to apply for AFSCAN funding for research projects linking African universities with partner institutions in other countries.

Dr Varga added: “Through AFSCAN we have a real opportunity to help advance the veterinary profession across Africa and, in so doing, improve the lives of millions of animals and humans.”

The AFSCAN project runs under the auspices of the foundation, with Zoetis as a major supporter.

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