Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Veterinary Meeting in Kabul

In late June I attended a veterinary working group in Kabul convened to address veterinary institutions in Afghanistan. Their ministries have now officially "privatized" the veterinary profession, meaning that most veterinarians, similar to those in the US, will make their living from fee for service; they will also begin a "public - private partnership" similar to what the US does for national animal disease control programs. They also plan to incorporate the veterinary profession in the slaughter and meat inspection process, a sensible idea since most of the meat harvesting occurs in small "locker" plants and the need for an entire bureaucracy for large scale meat production is not needed in this country yet. Afghanistan has two veterinary colleges, one in Kabul and one in Nangahar, and there are efforts underway to upgrade their equipment and facilities. Afghanistan also has an active veterinary association. Continuing challenges for the profession include quality / authenticity control for pharmaceuticals, cold chain management (i.e., medications / vaccines that are supposed to be stored under refrigeration stay under refrigeration during storage, transportation, distribution and use), as well as lack of electricity and laboratory support. During this meeting we broke into working groups and I hope to use my professional experience as both a private, APHIS accredited DVM and a federally employed veterinarian to positively influence the development of veterinary policy.

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