they are not Namibians; most of them are Zimbabweans, who might return to their own country once their political and economical situation has improved.
The VS have overcome in part the shortness of professionals by operating with a well trained cadre of para‐veterinarians in the form of Animal Health Technicians (AHT). They also have a strong in‐house training program for Animal Health Workers (AHW).
While the resources available are not ample, the competency and creativity of the professionals is demonstrated through their innovation and constant search for application of state of the art technology in their work. An example of this creativity was observed in the application of electronic pens, connected to mobile phones, for the entry of animal disease data directly from the field into the central animal health database.
Animal Identification and Traceability system: Namibia has established a robust animal identification and traceability system, which is mandatory in the FMD surveillance and FMD free zone (south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence (VCF)). The system (NamLITS) has been established in close partnership with the private sector (Meat Board of Namibia (MBN). All cattle over 6 months of age need to be identified with individual ear tags and the recording of all animal movements is mandatory and monitored through a well enforced permit system. The traceability system also covers small ruminants, but these are identified as lots and not individuals.
The traceability system has allowed the VS to conduct important surveys and to be able to do trace backs in case emergency issues should arise. If the existing professional vacancies are eventually filled within the VS, the headquarters staff would be able to conduct better surveys, as well as risk analyses using NamLITS data. Unfortunately, this traceability system is still not operational in the region north of the Veterinary Cordon Fence, although there are plans to begin its implementation this coming year.
Private sector partnership: There is a strong partnership between the VS and the private sector, particularly the export sector (Meat Board of Namibia and the Namibia Agriculture Union). These organizations have strongly supported the work of the VS in terms of supporting the need for resources required for the safety guarantees for the export of meat to high demanding markets, such as the European Union and South Africa. However, these organizations have not greatly contributed to solving the dissimilar governance system between the north and the south of the country. The initiatives promoted by the MBN and the NAU are primarily those aimed at facilitating and improving the export conditions from the FMD free zone, and to a lesser degree, at improving the overall governance of the VS throughout the country.