HSVMA Provides Assistance with Veterinary Training in Ethiopia

April 11, 2011

by Susan Monger, DVM and Mihreteab Bekele, DVM

Last year, Dr. Anteneh Roba, President of The International Fund for Africa (IFA), contacted HSVMA Rural Area Veterinary Services (HSVMA-RAVS) for assistance in developing a sustainable surgical training program at the College of Veterinary Medicine in Jimma, Ethiopia.

Since two of the most important components of the HSVMA-RAVS International Program are teaching skills and providing clinical experience and oversight in small animal medicine and surgery in resource-challenged veterinary schools—primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean—we were happy to help. Not only would this be our first trip to the African continent, but it would be the first course of this kind in Ethiopia.

After months of planning, our group arrived in Ethiopia in January, following two long days of air travel, an issue with customs and an eight hour drive across the country from Addis Ababa to Jimma. Once there, we were greeted by the Dean, faculty and students of the university, all who were eagerly awaiting our arrival.

Supporting a community-based educational philosophy

The class of veterinary students were eager to learn at Jimma University in Ethiopia.

Jimma University is one of the most distinguished universities in Ethiopia. With a community-based educational philosophy, the university strives to address the multifaceted issue of overpopulation and the spread of zoonotic and communicable diseases, as well as enhance the local attitude toward a more humane approach to dogs and cats.

Our course would build upon this foundation and mark the incorporation of humane care and small animal medicine and surgery into the curriculum for future generations of veterinarians and veterinary students at the college.

Sharing a vision and dedication to sustainability

Sustainable programs are dictated by vision, commitment and dedication and an ability to assess the progress of the program. I can say without a doubt that the staff and students of Jimma University College of Veterinary Medicine and the IFA organization share a vision and dedication to developing a sustainable program that is to be admired and emulated.

And based on my ongoing communications with the faculty and students, as well as photographs of the implementation of techniques taught throughout the course, I can be certain that this program will succeed, grow and develop into a model program for Ethiopia.

Special note: HSVMA-RAVS would like to express our sincere appreciation to Jimma University, The International Fund for Africa, Dr. Theresa Fossum and Elseveir Publications for their support of our trip and their dedication to animal welfare in Ethiopia. We are honored to be involved with the development of this program and are looking forward to returning in 2012.

Dr. Susan Monger is the Director of HSVMA-RAVS International Program, and Dr. Bekele is a Professor of Surgery at Jimma University College of Veterinary Medicine.