Part IV: Conclusions
Namibia has very competent Veterinary Services characterized by extremely well trained professionals. Most veterinarians have advanced degrees and many from various institutions abroad. Unfortunately, the VS has too many vacant positions, mostly due to an insufficient number of professionals in the country and the fact that Namibia does not have its own veterinary school.
A potential problem in terms of sustainable professional staffing of the VS could be the eventual departure of several of their veterinarians with advanced degrees, as they are not Namibians; most of them are Zimbabweans, who might return to their own country once the 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. They also have a strong in‐house training program for Animal Health Workers.
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.
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. The system has been established in close partnership with the private sector (Meat Board of Namibia). 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.