Last updated :01/09/2021

Veterinary Workforce Development

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Introduction

National Veterinary Services (VS) play critical roles in protecting animal health and welfare, and share responsibilities on issues for which a multi-sectoral One Health approach is required, such as zoonosis prevention and control, and for which they must ensure veterinary workforce with sufficient numbers and appropriate competencies are in place. Many OIE Members in the region face challenges in ensuring that an adequate enabling environment is in place in for veterinarians, Veterinary Paraprofessionals (VPPs) to work to their optimal capacity, including their prerogatives, appropriate legislation, regulation, coordination and communication among stakeholders, and educational provision. VPPs can play crucial roles in VS, making up more than half of the workforce in much of Asia and the Pacific region.

Veterinary Workforce

‘Veterinary workforce’ is defined by the number, distribution and type of personnel working in the veterinary services across the public and private sectors.

Public functions of veterinarians comprise – Animal Health policy, Animal disease surveillance/control/eradication, Certification of animal heath for trade, Veterinary public health and etc, while private functions involve clinical animal health services, production services such as pregnancy diagnosis and so on.

The veterinary workforce includes veterinarians of different specialisms, and VPPs working in animal health, veterinary public health (such as meat inspection) and laboratories, in urban, rural and remote settings.

Given the wide and various functions veterinary service is responsible for, veterinary workforce planning, identifying who delivers which service is important to strengthen the veterinary service in the country.

Systematic workforce assessments can identify gaps in the numbers and categories of personnel required in the country.

For a workforce to conduct their activities effectively, they require enabling environment including adequate and updated legislation, regulation, education and coordination/collaboration mechanism.

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Success stories  (New: 01/09/2021)

VPP (Veterinary Para-Professional)

VPP means a person who, for the purposes of the Terrestrial Code, is authorised by the veterinary statutory body to carry out certain designated tasks (dependent upon the category of veterinary paraprofessional) in a territory, and delegated to them under the responsibility and direction of a veterinarian. The tasks for each category of veterinary paraprofessional should be defined by the veterinary statutory body depending on qualifications and training, and in accordance with need. In Members, where VSB does not regulate VPPs, a VPP maybe defined as a person who is not a veterinarian but has received at least one year of formal training in animal health/production from a recognised /accredited institution resulting in a certificate, diploma or degree, and who is currently active. VPPs play an important role in providing basic veterinary service delivery in most resource-constrained or developing countries, occupying a range of roles in animal health, veterinary public health and laboratories. Considering the importance of VPPs, the OIE has organized multiple events as well as published guidelines on VPPs.

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Resources

Veterinary Statutory Body

VSB is defined as an autonomous regulatory body for veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals (Terrestrial code glossary). In the OIE code, establishment of VSB with the power of defining the specific categories of veterinary and VPP practitioners to be recognized in the country and of implementing the system of controls is recommended. VSB is essential to ensure the effectiveness of veterinary services. For more information, please visit the Veterinary Education and VBS page.

 

Veterinary Education

Veterinary Education plays a significant role in strengthening veterinary workforce. The OIE has supported Members to develop and strengthen Veterinary Education by sharing information and organizing workshops. For more information, please visit the Veterinary Education and VSB page.

How OIE can support Members in developing Veterinary Workforce

The OIE continues to support the strengthening of the VS, Veterinary Education Establishments (VEEs), Veterinary Legislation and Veterinary Statutory Bodies (VSBs) globally and regionally through its global programme for Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) pathway, including PVS Evaluations and Gap Analysis and more targeted initiatives like VEE and VSB twinning projects and the Veterinary Legislation Support Programme (VLSP).

PVS Pathway is the OIE’s flagship capacity-building platform for the sustainable improvement of national Veterinary Services. Through it’s evaluation and planning process, it can provide members with support for workforce assessment and planning. Targeted support can support Members strengthen the enabling environment for good veterinary workforce. For more information, please visit the PVS page. The OIE is currently supporting some pilot initiatives to develop additional support programs in this area.

In addition, OIE has published OIE Competency and Curricula Guidelines for VEEs and VPPs to facilitate development and reviewing of the curriculums and to promote competency/skill-based trainings. The OIE also  organises regional and sub-regional workshops on related topics to foster opportunities for experience-sharing among Members.