May 28, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

SA grapples with shortage of vets

SA faces a serious shortage of veterinary professionals with only one tertiary institution offering training in the country.

This was announced by the SA Veterinary Council (SAVC) ahead of Saturday’s World Veterinary Day and recognizes the contribution of veterinarians to society.

This year’s theme is ‘Building Veterinary Resilience’ to draw attention to the health and well-being of the people who do this work.

” The issue is particularly timely in the South African context given the shortage of veterinary professionals in the country,” said SAVC President Dr. Tlotlo Kgasi.

Many South Africans do not have access to veterinary care, particularly in rural areas.

Many South Africans do not have access to veterinary care.


The The international standard is between 200 and 400 vets per million people in a country, while SA only has between 60 and 70 vets per million people.

“As a result, veterinarians often find themselves overwhelmed.”

According to the World Veterinary Association, stress, burnout and other health issues have increased in recent years, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Veterinarians, like their patients, need appropriate tools and support to to maintain their personal health and well-being. Healthy animals need healthy advocates. Resilient veterinarians are better equipped to deal with the day-to-day challenges and crises that can arise in their practices.”

Kgasi believes that in SA the responsibility lies with the key stakeholders – regulators like the SAVC and other animal health associations , institutions and governments – to provide appropriate support.

“It would also help if more young people pursue careers in the veterinary and paraveterinary sectors.”

He said the SAVC would not control the number of veterinarians the country produces.

“The Faculty of Veterinary Sciences at the University of Pretoria is the only institution in SA that offers veterinary education through its BVSc degree. Even then, the campus only produces about 170 graduates per year.”

Veterinary education is expensive, but various solutions can be considered to increase the number of veterinarians in the country, said Kgasi.

This could include expanding veterinary faculties to meet the needs of the country.

“As the veterinary regulatory body, SAVC has an assessment framework for existing and new veterinary schools and would provide support and information to support any interested educational institutions in their planning and due diligence.”

Kgasi believes that funding for veterinary studies needs to be increased and that concerted efforts should be made to attract students to the sector are recruiting, particularly from previously disadvantaged communities.

He said there was still “limited awareness” in some communities nds regarding veterinary services and the crucial role of veterinarians in society.

“More awareness is needed to profile and elevate the profession in these communities.”

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