The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has unveiled a ground-breaking scheme to advance standards of veterinary care across Africa.
The African Small Companion Animal Network (AFSCAN) aims to help create a sustainable network of companion animal veterinarians, associations and specialist groups in Sub-Saharan Africa in the hope they form new small animal veterinary associations across the continent.
The creation of veterinary associations has led to enhancements in collaboration, training and best practice sharing, proving pivotal in driving improvement in veterinary care in other world regions, notably Eastern Europe.
The AFSCAN project, the first phase of which runs from April 2014 until April 2016, has been developed by the WSAVA Foundation with the backing of animal health company Zoetis and a consortium.
It aims to achieve its goal through initiating activities in key areas, including:
• Offering grant funding for veterinary projects and establishing links between African veterinary researchers and those in institutions in American or European countries
• Increasing support for and coordination of rabies control projects and setting up new projects
• The expansion of training and continuing education programmes for veterinarians and other veterinary professionals
• The support of surveillance systems to monitor infectious and parasitic diseases in companion animals
“Africa is the world’s second largest continent and contains some of the world’s fastest growing countries,” said Dr Gabriel Varga, president of the WSAVA Foundation and director of business operations for Zoetis North Europe region.
“Unfortunately, it is also plagued by many of its most dangerous diseases and, while small animal veterinarians work hard, their numbers are few, they are geographically isolated and often held back by a lack of training and support.
“Through AFSCAN we aim to harness global support to build a networked community of individuals and institutions across Africa which can give immediate help in tackling zoonotic, infectious and parasitic diseases in a more coordinated way.”
The WSAVA Foundation was founded in 2009 with the aim of acquiring funds for activities that can be delivered by clinical and laboratory specialists for the benefit of veterinarians globally.