May 29, 2024

Twinning implementation needs assessment published

Veterinarians are essential partners in advancing One Health and helping to ensure communities have food security, nutrition, poverty alleviation and global health security. Strengthening the capacity of veterinary services can ultimately safeguard animal and human health, grow economies and improve lives, and is a priority for the international community.

To improve the quality of veterinary education in Ethiopia, the colleges of veterinary medicine at Ohio State and the University of Gondar partnered in 2015 to develop and implement a curriculum that would provide graduating veterinarians with the skills that aligned with the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) recommendations. Launched in 2017, this new curriculum sought to improve the quality of veterinary education establishments (VEEs) and was the first of its kind in Africa.

In November 2020, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education approved the University of Gondar College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science’s curriculum as the benchmark for a new national curriculum to be adopted by all Ethiopian veterinary education establishments (VEEs).

Andrea Bessler, a veterinary public health resident at Ohio State, recently dived into the veterinary medicine curriculum in Ethiopia to conduct a needs assessment and evaluate the curriculum implementation. Results of the study are published on the Frontiers in Veterinary Science website in an article co-authored by Amanda Berrian, GOHi director of outreach and engagement and Armando Hoet, GOHi faculty advisory committee member, among others from Ohio State and the University of Gondar in Ethiopia.

This publication shares the needs assessment results, evaluating the curriculum implementation among 14 veterinary programs representing 93% of eligible programs nationwide. The purpose was to identify barriers and challenges Ethiopian veterinary medicine programs have faced while implementing the new curriculum.

Results found that key challenges with the new curriculum included the organization of veterinary services, inspection and certification procedures and practical applications of the regulatory framework for disease prevention and control. Instructional methodologies, particularly facilitating off-site student training, were also perceived as barriers. The focus group discussions identified challenges, including limitations in faculty expertise, resource constraints and limited access to off-site facilities for hands-on teaching. The focus group also noted the shortage of teaching materials/supplies for hands-on application.

Though some VEEs indicated leveraging key partnerships on and off campus as a strength, most identified it as a limitation, indicating an increasing need for capacity building through collaborations with national ministries, international agencies, public-private partnerships, academic institutions, One Health networks and donor organizations.

The results will be presented at a multi-stakeholder national workshop. Participants will discuss and prioritize solutions to the challenges identified in the needs assessment and condense them into a comprehensive action plan to modify the national curriculum.