We are Animal Health and Husbandary Technologists, Not Para-veterinarians; AAH&HT Secretary General

Animal health practitioners in Nigeria must resolve their professional differences, if the advancement of the sector is to be achieved. This position was put forward by the Secretary-General, Association of Animal Health and Husbandry Technologists (AAH&HT) in Nigeria, Mr Oluwadare Paul, at the recently concluded virtual Veterinary Council of Nigeria Continuing Education Course held on 24 – 25th November, 2020.

Speaking on the topic The Complex Interplay of Factors Towards A Healthy Animal Welfare Delivery in the Tropics“, Mr Paul noted that there was a reason why the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in their wisdom, chose the prefix “animal health”. This, according to him was to ensure that all related professions and practitioners in the sector are adequately accommodated. He frowned at the situation in Nigeria where veterinarians and para-veterinarians are busy protecting their territories, to the detriment of the common goal of food security and animal health. He noted that vets are much more closer to the para-veterinarians than they think, being that they have one thing in common, which is “animal“.

Mr Paul, who is currently recognised globally as the Nigerian Ambassador for Animal Welfare, stated that for animal health to be achieved in Nigeria, the relationship between veterinarians and para-veterinarians must be bilateral, synergistic and mutual. In his words:

“If we do not come together, animal health cannot thrive in Nigeria. At the end, how much one earns, or one’s nomenclature will not matter. What will matter is the impact, and how much of animal health has been achieved. Hence we must look inward and settle our professional conflicts. Each profession must be given what it wants, to ensure harmony and focus on the common goal of animal health. That is the only way we can achieve food security and attain the zero hunger goal of the SDGs.

Nigeria is widely regarded globally as the giant of Africa. Hence we must continue to lead. Our training and development must be tailored to address our own needs. If we do not, we will be left behind. The Gambia, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania and other countries obtained their trainings here in Nigeria, went back and adapted the trainings to their own needs, and are now thriving. We must identify the specific needs of our environment, and design our education and development around it”.

Thanking the organizers of the Continuing Education programme for finding it worthy to include the para-veterinarians in this year’s edition, Mr Paul noted that more members of the AAH&HT could have registered and participated, but for the fact they feel not accepted by the law; pointing to the veterinary gazette which clearly bars non vets as member of VCN. Hence, he revealed that members of the AAH&HT wish to retain the name “Animal Health and Husbandry Technologists”, in place of the prefix, “para-veterinarian”, in Nigeria.

In her response, the President of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), AIG Aishatu Abubakar Baju thanked the Secretary-General of the AAH&HT for his presentation and participation in the programme. She went on to state the intention of the VCN to dialogue with the AAH&HT leadership to find common grounds, understand roles, and progressively work with all registered animal health and husbandry technologists, towards achieving animal health.

The two-day paid VCN Continuing Education Course 2020, has as its theme: “Reinvigorating the Veterinary Profession in Nigeria: Finding New Paths for Veterinarians and Para-veterinarians”. The first ever virtual edition witnessed an all time high turn-out of over 1,000 registered participants, with an average attendance of 600 persons in the different seminar training and plenary sessions. LIVESTONEWS.

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