More Vets Needed [Archives:1998/42/Health]
Veterinary medicine is crucial to the development of the agricultural sector and the overall economic development process in this country. There is a marked need for veterinary doctors and workers, hence the need for veterinary education.
In this respect and to gauge how advanced veterinary education in Yemen is, Ismail Al-Ghabiry of Yemen Times interviewed Eng. Musaad Saleh Al-Nimr, an agronomist and Director of the Vocational Agricultural and Veterinary Institute in Sanaa.
Q: Could you tell us a little bit about the Institute?
A: The Institute was first established in 1981. The first batch of seven students graduated in 1984. Then the Institute specialized in veterinary medicine only. In 1989, however, a department of agriculture was opened. Our graduates have vocational qualifications – equivalent to secondary school certificate – enabling them to help veterinary doctors.
Students admitted into the Institute must have at least a basic-education certificate. About 180 to 220 students are admitted every year. Training is conducted within the Institute with hands-on training at animal farms, etc. Almost all the teachers at the Institute are Yemeni.
Students get free education, accommodation and food, except for first-year students.
Q: What are the main aims of veterinary education in Yemen?
A: The Vocational Agricultural Veterinary Institute’s main aim to qualify veterinary technicians with a comprehensive knowledge to answer the needs of veterinary work in this country. We also aim to develop veterinary work, provide students with up-to-date education, and to raise awareness of the importance of veterinary medicine in the development process.
Q: How had it been before the Institute was established?
A: There were very few veterinary workers who were trained abroad or attended courses in Yemen.
Q: Is there any coordination between the Institute and other organizations?
A: There is close coordination between the Institute and the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. The latter has provided us with training and educational materials such as seed sowers and even some livestock.
Q: Do you coordinate with the Ministry of Health at all?
A: No, I am afraid there is no such coordination.
Q: What subjects are taught at the Institute and what sort of practical training is provided?
A: Students spend three years at the Institute where they receive theoretical and practical education. The academic year starts in October and ends in July of the next year.
Daily classes start at 7.30am and finish at about 2pm. Subjects taught as party of the veterinary course include: surgery, poultry diseases, animal nutrition, pharmacology, parasitoloy, microbiology, pathology, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, animal husbandry, meat hygiene, animal production, internal diseases, laboratory diagnosis, gynecology, etc.
Q: What sort of problems does the Institute face?
A: The main problems include lack of teaching staff, lack of equipment and facilities, shortage of enough space for practical training. Also, low wages have driven out many of our teachers and staff who look for work elsewhere.
Q: Do many students wish to enroll in the Institute?
A: The number of students applying to the Institute every year far exceeds its available capacity. The Vocational Agricultural and Veterinary Institute is the only one of its kind, as far as veterinary education is concerned. Regarding agronomy, the Institute comes second. This actually shows there is great need for similar institutes in other parts of the country, especially where there is appreciable animal and crop production.
Q: Does the Institute have a special cowshed?
A: Yes, there are special sheds and pens for cows, sheep, goats, poultry and rabbits. The chicken coop has a capacity for 1,500 chicks. Also, there are laboratories for microbiology, pathology, diary products, nutrition, etc.
Our livestock include 10 cows, 2 bulls, 7 female goats, 4 male goats, 5 ewes, 2 male sheep, 2 calves, 3 young cows.
Q: Does the Institute provide any veterinary services to the general public?
A: The Institute provides many services to the local farming community. These include improving cow breeding by crossing local cows with imported bulls. At the Institute’s special clinic we examine, treat and perform surgery on sick animals as well as doing diagnostic laboratory tests. The clinic is actually open throughout the day and even during public holidays.