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The effectiveness of community-based animal health workers, for the poor, for communities and for public safety

Author(s) : D. Peeling & S. Holden

Summary :

The development of community animal health (CAH) is an invaluable tool for addressing a series of challenges, particularly for the policy-maker, whose prime concern is public welfare. This paper examines three of the major challenges which confront governments, particularly the governments of less-developed countries, namely, the collapse of government services, the crucial issue of poverty reduction and the misuse of animal drugs. Although CAH is a potentially powerful tool for approaching all of these problems, the authors argue that CAH can only be fully exploited on a macroscopic level by developing strong institutions to support and regulate such community initiatives. In some countries, developing such institutions depends upon accepting the more fundamental and controversial principle of legalising non-professional animal health service providers who work within the private sector. In Section 1, the authors outline the three principal challenges which face governments, particularly in developing countries, and to which CAH offers a potential solution. Sections 2 to 4 investigate the evidence relating to each of these challenges in turn. Section 5 briefly draws on the lessons that have been generated by field experiences over the years, to propose how governments may develop CAH systems to their best advantage.

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