Integrating global animal health, public health and tropical animal health issues into the veterinary curriculum: a South African/African perspective
The globalisation of trade and food, the increased volume and speed of international travel, climate change, and the related escalation of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases mean that countries are now more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. Africa is beleaguered by a range of endemic infectious and parasitic tropical diseases which, due to its diverse wildlife populations and indigenous livestock, can serve as a reservoir of high-impact or transboundary diseases and play a role in the emergence of disease, particularly at the wildlife, domestic animal and human interfaces. It is therefore essential to integrate animal and public health issues into the veterinary curriculum. Veterinary training in most parts of sub-Saharan Africa has focused on producing veterinarians to serve the livestock sector although socio-economic changes and privatisation of Veterinary Services have caused curriculum adjustments, as have globalisation and the increased risk of the spread of transboundary diseases. In South Africa, undergraduate veterinary training is more clinically oriented than in other regions. Animal and public health issues are covered in the curriculum, although their global relevance is not emphasised. The authors describe the undergraduate veterinary curriculum and summarise post-graduate programmes in South Africa. They also discuss a more comprehensive core-elective approach to the current curriculum and the need to adapt to new challenges facing the profession. Finally, they examine the potential use of innovative technology in undergraduate and post-graduate training and professional development, the importance of regional and international collaboration and the accreditation and recognition of veterinary training.
Africa – Curriculum – Education – Emerging and re-emerging diseases – Global animal health – Global public health – One World, One Health – Public health – South Africa – Transboundary diseases.