U of M Center for Animal Health and Food Safety receives $4.99M award for veterinary services capacity-building in East Africa
The Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) at the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine has been awarded a seven-year, $4.99 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support veterinary services capacity-building in East Africa. The grant aims to specifically build capacity for the critical evaluation, evidence-based revision and long-term monitoring of disease control programs to support local systems of animal health and food safety through group training and workforce development.
More than 50% of the African continent’s livestock is located in East Africa. In their official regulatory capacity, national veterinary authorities and veterinary service personnel across the region carry the responsibility of regulating and promoting animal and livestock health and food safety. Strengthening the veterinary service workforce therefore has potential to improve the food systems, public health and economies in participants’ countries. By collaborating with each other — a goal of the training launching later this year with the support of the new grant — countries can also contribute to harmonized regional approaches for livestock health and food hygiene standards to promote trade, a strategy advocated by the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH).
The recently funded project builds on a previous $1.5 million grant from the foundation that supported the development and initial implementation of ProgRESSVet East Africa, a hybrid eLearning program for veterinary services personnel on key topics in animal health and food safety. As a result of the initial investment, 74 participants received online and applied training to address issues of national importance, such as strengthening disease surveillance systems, implementing risk analysis and risk management practices, establishing systems for animal traceability and improving laboratory capacity. The re-investment supports significant deepening of learning programs in Kenya and Uganda, as well as the expansion of programming to other countries in the region.
The expanded offerings of ProgRESSVet East Africa are part of CAHFS’ signature capacity-building program targeted at in-service veterinary service professionals, the vast majority of whom are government veterinarians in public service. Launched in Latin America in 2017, ProgRESSVet programs have been offered in 11 countries to date, with nearly 200 program alumni in South and Central America, Southeast Asia and East Africa. ProgRESSVet fulfills the Center’s mandate as a designated WOAH Collaborating Centre for Veterinary Services Capacity Building and mission as a Veterinary Public Health Reference Center for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Key partners in the design and implementation of ProgRESSVet East Africa include the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and BioSecurity at Makerere University, the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, and the Kenya Directorate of Veterinary Services, as well as Kenya Women's Veterinary Association. The Kenya Veterinary Board and the Uganda Veterinary Board, the statutory bodies that oversee licensure of practicing veterinarians in each country, approve ProgRESSVet East Africa as an official provider of continuous professional development. For more information about ProgRESSVet, visit progressvet.umn.edu, or cahfs.umn.edu.
About the College of Veterinary Medicine
The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine affects the lives of animals and people every day through educational, research, service, and outreach programs. Established in 1947, the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine is Minnesota’s only veterinary college. Fully accredited, the college has graduated over 4,000 veterinarians and hundreds of scientists. The college is also home to the Veterinary Medical Center, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Leatherdale Equine Center and The Raptor Center. Learn more at vetmed.umn.edu.