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Increasing access to animal health services

Written by More Matshediso
Like humans and all other living beings, animals also have a need when it comes to their health care needs.

Dr Mukani Nobela doing a Buhner Stich after fixing a Uterine ProlapseThis is why the North West Department of Rural Environment and Agricultural Development is increasing efforts to strengthen the veterinary services in the province.

The department has already placed eleven veterinarians in rural areas of the province as part of their one year compulsory community service to ensure that all threats to animal health and food safety are detected and dealt with as early as possible.

The department said the objectives of Veterinary Compulsory Community Services programme (CCS) is to provide accessible and affordable veterinary services to under-served and poor resourced areas in the country.

The newly deployed veterinarians have been sent veterinary offices in local municipalities including Kagisano, Taung, Ramotshere Moiloa, Madibeng, and areas around Potchefstroom centres.

Dr Mukani Nobela who is one of the Veterinarians told Vuk’uzenzele about the importance of keeping animals healthy.

“Animals are living breathing beings just like human beings. They feel pain and get sick but most importantly, some protect us and others feed us, so we need to take care of them,” the 27-year-old said.

Nobela works in a veterinary office in Madibeng Local Municipality but from time to time is called to go provide her specialised services in different households across Madibeng.

Part of her daily job is to vaccinate dogs and cats as well as treating livestock for different diseases including Transmissible Venereal Tumor (TVT). 

The University of Pretoria graduate said she chose her career path because while she was growing up in Giyani, Limpopo she did not see anyone taking care of animal health in her community.

She sees working in the North West as an opportunity to motivate community members to care for their animals, as it is a rural province and also hopes to inspire black females in the area to follow in her footsteps.

“The North West was my first option mainly because there is a lot of animal production taking place here and it is close to my home province,” Nobela said.

She also hopes to increase her skills and knowledge with regard to field work for domestic or companion animals and those used in agriculture. 

The department said CCS veterinarians are expected to make use of the already existing communication channels with the community in order to establish mobile community veterinary clinics.

“This does not replace the standing work that is conducted routinely by Provincial Veterinary Services, but is an extension of the services,” the department said.

In order to fulfil the requirements of South African Veterinary Council (SAVC), cases that are diagnosed in the field and that may require extensive treatment and hospitalisation will be referred back to a stationery registered clinic of the province.

The newly qualified Veterinarians operate under strict monitoring by the Veterinary Council and will receive a certificate of full completion at the end of their contract with CCS year and only then can they operate in places of their own choice.