Fiji kicks off summer school for aspiring paraveterinarians, to upskill and strengthen animal health in the Pacific

Suva

Practical on teeth clipping for piglets demonstrated by SPC's PHOVAPS Coordinator, Ms Elenoa Salele - Credit: SPC

25 dedicated livestock, research and extension officers from the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) are a step closer to completing Paraveterinarian (paravet) training as they begin final assessments from 27 November – 1 December 2023 at the Pacific Community's Narere Campus and the Koronivia Research Station.

The Pacific Community (SPC), in collaboration with the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and Fiji MOA, is facilitating the Paravet Summer School, which is a culmination of the 16-week training programme launched in April 2023. The aspiring paravets attended practical and theory revision sessions during summer school this week in preparation for sitting final exams. The training is funded by the European Union through the Safe Agricultural Trade Facilitation through Economic Integration in the Pacific (SAFE Pacific) project.

We are proud to witness Fiji’s commitment to this vital training programme and the unwavering dedication of its students to successfully complete their training. This effort is important for Fiji and our region in meeting the growing demand for additional paraveterinarians in the field,” said SPC’s Animal Health and Production Advisor, Dr Sripad Sosale.

Practical on the collection of blood samples demonstration by SPC's Animal Health and Production Adviser, Dr Sripad Sosale - Credit: SPC

Dr Sirpad continues: “The training responds to one of the key priorities identified in the recently endorsed Pacific Animal Health Capacity Building Plan, on the lack of veterinarians in the region.”

The Paravet training is a flagship programme developed by SPC, and since its inception in 2003, it has been implemented in 15 countries. The entire training course was designed as a distance-learning programme and focussed on animal health and production issues for livestock found in the Pacific, including cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, horses and poultry.

The Locality Livestock Officer from Labasa MOA, Mr Laitia Busele, shared, “Taking this course has greatly enhanced my knowledge and understanding of animal management, particularly in relation to maintaining productivity, the intricacies of the animal body, diseases and their treatment, and effectively identifying symptoms in animals.

During summer school, the participants learnt how to safely handle animals, diagnose and treat sick animals,  collect blood samples and  Inspect meat.

This training is great for Crop Extension Officers and Livestock Extension Services in the Ministry of Agriculture. It has improved my ability to serve farmers in the field, especially in the Veterinary Clinic where I handle smaller sick animals and sell veterinary medications,”  expressed Ms Luisa Amele, Locality Livestock Extension Officer at the Vatuwaqa Vet Clinic.

A graduation ceremony will be organised at the end of the programme, where the successful participants will receive certification from SPC and the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture.

About SAFE Pacific:

The Safe Agriculture Trade Facilitation through Economic Integration in the Pacific (SAFE Pacific) project is funded by the European Union and implemented by The Pacific Community to support greater economic integration in the region. The SAFE Pacific project aims to improve the economic and social benefits for Pacific countries arising from stronger regional economic integration. SAFE Pacific will be implemented across 15 Pacific countries including Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, PNG, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

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