Efforts to improve veterinary medicine in the country has received a boost with the induction of eight newly-qualified veterinary doctors from the School of Veterinary Medicine, of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi.
This was at the Second Oath Swearing and Induction Ceremony of the School held under the auspices of the Veterinary Council of Ghana (VCG).
The figure brings to 18 the total number of veterinary doctors trained locally by the school since its establishment in 2009, a development considered to be a major breakthrough in a country facing an acute shortage of veterinary doctors.
The Veterinary Services Directorate estimates that Ghana currently has less than 50 veterinary doctors in active service and the majority of them had their training abroad.
Professor Raphael Folitse, Dean of the School, said it was appropriate that the nation invests more in veterinary education given the inadequacy of such professionals in the healthcare system.
With the upsurge in animal-related diseases and meat consumption, he said such a project has become critical to produce the needed expertise to advance cutting-edge veterinary research to improve human health.
He said the historical contributions of veterinary research had been considerable, but its vital role in public health and food safety has clearly manifested in the last two decades.
Prof. Folitse said about 70 per cent of infectious diseases emanated from animals, explaining that given the emergence and outbreaks of diseases such as avian influenza, ebola, anthrax, amongst others, “the nation must not take chances.”
“We must proffer comprehensive measures to improve research on the prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment of these diseases to engender public health through food safety”, he said.
He proposed to the authorities of KNUST to strive to fashion out post-graduate scholarship programmes for brilliant graduating veterinary doctors to upgrade their knowledge and competency.
That, the Dean stated, was necessary as the beneficiary students could be enrolled to join the school’s faculty to improve their staff strength.
Professor Kwasi Obiri-Danso, Vice-Chancellor of the KNUST, in a speech read on his behalf, affirmed the institution’s commitment to stay focused on its mandate of producing the critical human resource base required for the health sector.
Professor Tsiri Agbenyega, Provost of the KNUST College of Health Sciences, advised the veterinary doctors to maintain high professional standards in their practice.