Sustainable business through training for veterinary paraprofessionals
Fabrizio Rosso, Deputy Executive Secretary & Holly Hufnagel, VPP Project Coordinator, European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD), Rome, Italy
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In 2021 EuFMD launched with its partners, the World Veterinary Association and HealthforAnimals, a project focused on strengthening the provision of last-mile animal health services to smallholder farmers in Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa. This is to be achieved by targeting veterinary paraprofessionals as key service providers. The project will develop a model for competency-based continuous professional development of veterinary paraprofessionals,which draws on the OIE Competency and Curriculum Guidelines for Veterinary Paraprofessionals and is tailored to each country’s specificities. Training will be centred on both the technical skills required for preventive animal health services, and the communication and business skills required for veterinary paraprofessionals to generate a sustainable income from their service provision. Hybrid models will be applied for training delivery including both virtual learning elements and face-to-face training.
To inform best approaches, the project team conducted background research on (i) veterinary paraprofessionals’ presence and roles within animal health services, and (ii) virtual learning and digital engagement with veterinary paraprofessionals. The results of this research were presented during two global stakeholders meetings held in October 2021 (Project Launch & Digital Engagement Workshop).
Due to the interest expressed by stakeholders participating in these workshops, and in order to foster knowledge sharing, a regular series of ‘Lessons Learnt’ focusing on the topic of veterinary paraprofessionals will be published from February 2022 on the project page. The first lessons learnt will cover:
- the role of veterinary paraprofessionals in the control of FMD and similar transboundary animal diseases.
- Virtual learning strategies for veterinary paraprofessionals.
- Gender, Animal Health and Information Communication Technology.
In the first quarter of 2022, the project is conducting a gender-sensitive training needs analysis for veterinary paraprofessionals which includes a participatory rural appraisal at the smallholder farmer and veterinary paraprofessional level in target pilot areas. The results of this work will be shared in due course within the ‘Lessons Learnt’ series.